some day i'll learn the art of less-is-more in capturing a day through my lens, but last sunday was not that day. {this is my journal of our f̶e̶e̶t̶ day.}

{...and maybe the longest post i'll ever do. most days, i'm lucky if i even take a personal photo, much less blog about it. i'm far too busy for that lately. but this was a special day... one i'd like to not soon forget... or ever. that's why i'm documenting it in specific detail in this monumental post. partly for me. mostly for isaac to read when he grows up, since he's too young to remember these days. and partly for you if you are so inclined to look... if you've got an hour to spare.}

so i thought i'd share another picture or two {*wink*} for my part two to my part one of our traditional anniversary/autumn outing. a sort-of mini book of our day. like part one, this post has the fall foliage in all it's glory, as well as pictures of the boys. but this time, i've got rain boots and puddles and mud... oh, my!

i'll just get right into it.

as i mentioned in part one and in last year's identical trip, we start out at our favorite coffee shop. it's been a favorite for a while for just my husband and me. but now we've a third fan of this place in our family. not only does isaac like it, but they {as in the owners} like him... always stopping to chat with him and ask questions about him. i have a feeling they do this with all the cute kids that frequent the establishment. but i'll just pretend that isaac is the only special one who gets that treatment, 'cause it's my post and it's my day and it's how i'm choosing to perceive it. =)

anyway, i love to go here as a family. great coffee {the best!}, delicious treats, and just a pleasant all-around atmosphere... a lot quieter and calmer than the starbucks of this world.

i think it's pretty clear that isaac likes it too...


he'll always start out sitting with one of us, and then before long, he's gotta break free and do his own thing among the maze of tables.


but as  much as he liked it here, he was itchin' to get going. he's in an infatuated-with-cars stage, so he wanted to get out and go see all the cars in the parking lot or whizzing by on the busy street, as is evident by his peering out the window and saying "cars" over and over {which i guess is not really evident to you, because it's only a photo and not video... but trust me, that's what he was saying}. poor thing. little did he know, there would be no cars where we were going. just trees and paths. hardly a piece of metal to be found at the bog we'd be driving to next. but that's okay. he'd soon get over it when he discovered just how much fun puddles and mud can be.

so we left.

and then we drove.

maybe twenty minutes. a perfect distance for a beautifully soaked-with-rain fall day. long enough to enjoy the views of a sunday drive. short enough to keep us from growing antsy or restless.

less than a minute away from the entrance to the bog, we would turn the corner to discover the most breathtaking scene... this chunk of land across from the bog. while i'm a fan of blue skies in the fall, there's something delightfully delicious to our sense of sight {i believe they call it eye candy?} when the skies are grey and dark in fall... it just makes the colors that much richer. it was so beautiful. i insisted that mr. b. stop the car so i could get out and take a picture.


as soon as i opened the door, i was greeted by some beautiful red sumac {my favorite}. that was my close-up invitation. my far-away greeting was the beautiful lone tree across the street {still quite green} with a backdrop of yellows, oranges and reds and rich blue-grey to make it stand out like it was the star attraction doing a monologue in the middle of a play.


we were not even at the bog yet, and here i was taking pictures. in fact, it's one of the things i love about the preserve... it is beauty surrounded by beauty. often {especially around these parts}, a lovely nature preserve will offer gorgeous views, but as soon as you leave, you're right back in a world of concrete, asphalt, stoplights and structures. not with this place. here, it's remote solitude that is encapsulated by the same. i like that. it changes how you approach and leave this place. you'd have to go see it to know just what i mean. but i don't ever divulge where this place is, because i like to think of it as our best kept secret. {of course, if you really wanted to know because you live in the area and actually do want to go see it, then i would tell you in heartbeat. but i'm not about to go broadcasting where it is to the whole world. *wink*}

anyway, i guess i better move on, seeing as we have not even entered the grounds yet.

when we finally arrived, rain clouds loomed, but i exited the car in faith that our hike would work out. mr. b. took get-isaac-out-of-his-car-seat duty, so i was free to walk over to the first photo-worthy spot i could find. i didn't have to go far... right there in the parking lot were large islands of planted wildflowers. 


i loved how un-tailored this planting/landscaping was. if they had planted the sort of garden you see in the city, it would have been a turn-off to me. but groundskeepers chose to make it as close as possible to how it would appear in nature. that and the colors of the plants were what made it so pretty. oh, see? we're still not officially on the grounds by this point, and i'm taking more pictures. i guess i'm not one to pass up taking photos of something so gorgeous... even if it is only in a parking lot.


so i don't apologize for so many photos so early on. plus, had i not stopped to do so, i would not have discovered the puddles that were nearby just waiting for my my boot soles to plunge through their depths. to have worn such hardy, waterproof footwear and not jumped in a puddle or two would have been a crime.

you bet i did it... i took the bait. i took that plunge. and i felt like a kid again. fun!!


little did i know it would create a little puddle monster out of my son. he quickly joined me, once his feet were planted on solid ground, to see what mama was doing.

and, well, you didn't think i'd just stand there and watch, did ya?... not without taking at least one photo? oh, what precious photos it made, too. i've been waiting for this moment for a long time... since writing about it while he was still in my tummy




boots in puddles would have been fun enough... and picture-worthy enough. but i happened to notice some endearing reflection shots forming. i think somewhere in my mind's reservoir of "shots i'd like to take some day", i had filed away this idea of some reflections of people in a puddle... namely, my own people. so i took the idea out of its file folder and stuck it inside my camera's idea drive and snapped away. oh, how i love what came out.



here we are, still in the parking lot. and i'm still having fun. not even feeling the urge to go into the bog. isaac must have been having fun, too, because we were among the cars of the few other brave meteorologic-trusting visitors, and he was not even interested in checking them out.

cars = old hat.

puddles = new love.

mr. b. was nice enough to notice that i would not be in any of these puddles shots if i was the only one taking them. so he kindly took my camera to get some of me with isaac in our "sort of" matching galoshes. wherever did that word come from, i wonder?


well, as you can see, isaac was not interested in modeling his boots with me. he was all about letting his clean, dry hands be anything but clean and dry.


so i had to wrangle him a bit for some photos. and sometimes it's the wrangling that makes for sweeter shots than the perfectly posed ones... or at least i think so. and those are the ones i treasure more, for they are closer to what life is really like. messy. sloppy. not pretty or perfect. and not at all neat and ordered... most of the time, anyways. 





still, i had to get at least one of us lined up just so. or rather, i had to have mr. b. get one.

that, he did. nicely done, mr. b! it's one of my favorites of the day!  i think i'll print and frame it.
okay, let's move on, shall we?

i finally stepped foot off the parking lot and onto the entrance of the grounds... which was basically a big open area of grass and trees... a little like someone's very nicely manicured back yard. not very wild. but pretty none the less. the au naturel part comes when one starts down the trails.

while mr. b. and isaac lingered in the parking lot, i walked away discussing whether or not we should stay on, as it looked like possible rain. but i wasn't really serious about leaving {which anyone could have guess by my persistent forward direction}. i wasn't going anywhere without some photos of the leaves. and even if i was contemplating it deep down, i wasn't gonna drive away without having made a mark with my camera to prove i was there.

so i snapped. shot. clicked.








and then i heard it... thunder.

oh, poo!

nuh-uh! this can not be!

i kept shooting, in denial... far enough away that i'd inevitably get wet before reaching the car once reality set in and i began a mad dash for the car. camera clutched tightly, shielding it from the rain, i arrived at the car when my boys did. we all climbed in feeling either disbelief or disappointment. or both.

we were there maybe twenty minutes. we had not yet stepped foot onto its 5.25 miles of trails, and we had barely stepped foot onto its almost fifty acres. i wanted to cry. okay, not really. but i was bummed.

i thought for sure mr. b. would want to turn the ignition and head for home. but he was even more reluctant than i. so we came to the decision that we would wait it out. something told us it was gonna pass and not be an all-day thing.

so we patiently waited.


then we unpatiently waited. the little guy got fidgety. content to be indoors, but not to sit still. steering wheels and a plethora of fascinating buttons must all be touched and pounded upon when you are sixteen months old... it's somewhere in the toddler handbook, i'm pretty sure.

come-on, storm! hurry up and do your thing!! can't you see what's happening in here?

guess what. i think it stormed for five minutes... ten minutes tops! can you believe it? heeding our hunch paid off! so glad, too. i was not ready to give up on our family tradition. {even though the alternative of browsing around the antique mall was almost just as appealing.}

anyway, we kept on. car exedous numero dos, and onward.


i was onward, anyway. someone else i know discovered brand new puddles that weren't there before... or certainly weren't quite as large and enticing, even if they had been there.


apparently that certain someone was not done puddle-exploring. i wont' mention any names. but he had a big star on his butt!









okay, fine!! if you're really gonna force me to take more photos of my son in the puddles, i guess my arm can be twisted. *sigh*

kind of cute... i have to admit.



it was all fun and games until he lost his balance and fell backward, though. drenched his star & stripes and diaper beneath. oh, isaac. as one of those moms who often leaves the house without her child's diaper bag, i was so glad this was not one of those days.


one diaper change later, and we were, by no small miracle, finally on our way to see the bog.


i'd have to endure a few dirty looks for making him leave puddle-land. but all would be forgiven in time... when he discovered this strange new world called mud. i'll get to that in a bit. first, let's see more of these fall colors i keep talking about.


it was pretty spectacular. the storm that was at one point behind us was now in front of us, serving as the most beautiful dark background to the array of bright hues. i had never seen anything like it. yes. i have seen that sky before. and yes, i have seen these colors before. but something about the time of day and the atmosphere... the dramatic sky ahead with the sun at our backs, peeking through breaks in the trailing clouds and casting a glow on the leaves. 





even to turn back toward the sun without that storm as a backdrop was beautiful, as the sun shone through and exposed the sky away to white, making colors pop even more.




and this was all just at the entrance, folks.

then we started down the trail {finally!}. it was here that i expected to get a few shots of mr. b. and isaac walking and then just put my camera "away"... let it hang around my neck, giving way to the mini cameras in those sections of the brain that control eyesight and memory... the occipital and temporal lobe cameras. {you probably thought i had no idea about the anatomy of a brain, didn't you?... well, you were almost right. i did  have to google it. but i at least knew they were called lobes before i did my research. hahaha.}

anyway, i was all set to simply walk and enjoy the sights of my two guys strolling through the splendor of autumn.

well, i didn't get very far. not far at all... i was maybe twelve steps down the path, before i couldn't stop from stopping...

to take pictures of this young tree that captivated me...


i think this quote i found today says with words what i saw with my eyes as the tree swayed back and forth in the strong autumn winds, and what i think these photos of it say to me now...

"every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree."
~emily bronte



when i saw it, i just thought "flight". every leaf seemed like a little butterfly trying to get free. one of the leaves in the moving picture above even looks a bit like a bird in flight. {i'll let you find it yourself.} each individual yellow, lacy flag, so small and delicate, and the tree as a whole held so much appeal. it was hard to walk away.

often, when we think of autumn's beauty, we think of trees that are still thick with leaves and full of bright color. or we think of ground blanketed in all those leaves freshly fallen. but rarely do we stop to look at the trees that are almost bare... hanging on to the last bits of evidence... of the growth it gave an through an entire summer before.

in another setting, i might have done the same with this tree... passed on by. but i couldn't help but notice how pretty the sparse yellow foliage looked agains the muted grey sky {which had filled in by then with a thin layer of post-storm cloud cover} and dark branches breaking all the planes in every direction. all blown around by the wind as if in some interpretive dance. it might sound sappy to say, but it really was very breathtaking... maybe my favorite visual moment of the nature aspect of our day. my camera and i could have played there all day.


but i could not hang back to play for long... i would have lost track of my boys as they forged on ahead down winding paths. plus i didn't want to miss everything else there was to see... and it was a lot!



so wander on ahead is just what we did. we'd wander only to find wonder around every bend... especially isaac, who was too young last year to remember this place. but even myself... even after all the times i have been there before, there's always something new to me.






it was nothing short of magical.

magical color. quiet. light. rustling. calm. shadow. texture. crispness.

and then there was mud.

i don't think i have to explain what the above photo can say better... just how much isaac enjoyed the mud. this shot was actually taken toward the end of the day where he was at his dirtiest. the photos below show a bit more of the progression throughout the day... from semi-clean to all-out coated in the stuff.






mud. mud. and more mud.

his first all-boy experience with the stuff... you know... like that slugs and snails and puppy-dog tails kind of all-boy experience... i.e., he LOVED it. he was in his element.

of course, don't get me wrong. it took a bit. at first, his taking to mud was a bit like his first experience with sitting in sand and grass.

but it wasn't long before he took a liking to it's squishy-mushy-goodiness and was digging around in it.

so hows about some more pics of him sloppin' it up in the stuff? oh, i  got 'em... and plenty!









he even attempted to slurp up some of that leaves-and-dirt soup, but we stopped him just in time. silly isaac... such a rookie! everyone knows mud does not taste good at that temperature!



gone was the crisp blue star that adorned his bum, only to be replaced by a patch of goopy, grimy, sloppy dirt. but i cannot tell a lie. i think he looks just as adorable muddy as he did when he was the poster child for tide detergent... if not more so. and what's more is, it was worth it... even if i never get those striped pants clean again. he was in hog heaven. he'd have sat in that magnificent mud all day, if we let him.

clearly, this was isaac's favorite part of the day... or at least it was a tie between the mud and the puddles. should have hit those puddles on the way back to rinse him off. instead, we stripped him down to his diaper and put him in his car seat with a blanket for a nice cozy nap on the way home

i'm near wrapping this up, if you can believe it. but not without a few last favorite pics of our fun day...





and a few final thoughts...

i can't really put into words how much this place means to me. i've always loved the beauty of it. but on october 15th of 2010 when i walked there hand-in-hand with mr. b., it became a very special place. i'm sure i've written about it before, here. but to recap, i walked along the path with my hand in his, thinking about ten years of marriage and how we'd likely never have children, but i was content and grateful just to have him {especially after so much that we'd been through}. little did i know that i was pregnant as i walked and talked. i look back and can see in my mind exactly what stretch of trail we were on when i was thinking those thoughts. {see photo no. 55 of this post.} now, two years later, we walked those same steps... the three of us again, going down that path for the third time. isaac in my belly the first year, in a baby carrier the next, and walking on his own the third time around. this trail {or the thought of it, anyway} will forever hold my affection and amazement.

of course, there's the fact that this tradition marks our love, our commitment to that love, and the anniversary of the day we committed to that love... and now the product of that love.

but there is also something else about this day. october fifteenth is sort of the end of a season for me... not the end of one of our four seasons. but the end of my own personal season that i cyclicly experience each year... the season in which i feel a sense of freedom. i'm not a big snow, cold weather, winter person. in fact, i very nearly downright despise it. it seems that it's about this time every year that my season of freedom comes to a close. i don't say that depressedly, although the thought of winter approaching does sort of depress me. i say it with gratitude. i find this traditional outing of ours to be a sort of last hoorah... a sort of last chance to enjoy the outdoors before life becomes hibernating and hunkered down. i see this day as a celebration of the season of outdoors and warmth that i had just come through and enjoyed. and i see it as my one last chance to savor it before those days go on hiatus. i don't just go and celebrate another year of being married. i do it to celebrate the season... to soak in the fresh air and bottle up whatever i can to last me through the cold, dark months ahead.

not that i dislike summer {'cause i don't unless it's terribly hot like last summer was}, but maybe this quote says it best...

"bittersweet october. the mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter."
~carol bishop hipps

{i'm a quotes person... if you haven't figured that out. they don't make those books and web sites full of them for nothing! *wink*}

so there you have it... that's my ode to october {the 15th and days surrounding in particular}.

yellow fall


GailO said...

Oh Georgia! This was so very worth reading and looking all the way through!

georgia b. said...

thank you for reading, sweet gail.

Cathy said...

this is a stunning post! you captured the day beautifully and what fun to see isaac enjoying nature. i really enjoyed seeing all your photos, thank you so much for sharing them : )

georgia b. said...

thank you, cathy. i appreciate you taking time to look. =)

and i'm glad you enjoyed.

georgia b. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Naomi said...

Beautiful photos! I just love that you let isaac play in the mud and puddles. Such a boy thing! :) love all these photos. Looks like a wonderful day. Im not ready for winter either....!

Naomi said...

Beautiful photos! I love how you let isaac play in the puddles and mud. Such a boy thing! :). Love all of these photos. Im not ready for winter either...,!

georgia b. said...

thank you, naomi. that mud is still on his rain boots, if you can believe it. i haven't had the heart to clean it off. =)

beth said...

whew....that was long :)

but when your subject is as cute as isaac, well i say, SHOOT AWAY !!!

Andrea said...

Little Issac in those puddle - priceless, classic photos! The one you posted on FB is my favorite.
I enjoyed reading every word of this, Georgia. :)