Words for Wednesday: Progression

You know how it goes – you take one step forward and it seems like you end up two steps backward.

Just this past weekend, we who live in places that adhere to Daylight Savings Time turned our clocks back one hour. The old mantra for these time changes is “spring forward, fall backward.”

But really, who wants to go back in time? Go back to high school days? Not on your life, if you ask me. Perhaps there is a time you’d like to return to so you could rectify a wrong or make a different decision. We all have instances in our lives that we regret, but that’s how we learn – from our mistakes.

Or maybe you’d like to step backwards in time to relive those joyous events in life, those happenings that made you so very happy. I can understand that desire for time travel, but what lessons would we learn if all our days were pleasant and blissful?

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” ~ Frederick Douglass

For the most part though, I think human beings like to move forward. Make progress. Not dwell on the past but look ahead to the future.

These thoughts came to mind during one of my early morning walks taken with my husband, the Papa of this empty nest. We walked along on a crisp autumn morning discussing current events which included subjects like politics and the pandemic.

In both cases, it doesn’t seem like our society makes much progress. Politics is still an ugly subject causing people to become angry and close-minded when someone doesn’t agree with their stance.

And here we are nine months into pandemic mode still under the thumb of a virus that prevents us from moving forward into normalcy of life.

Progress? It certainly doesn’t seem like it.

As I weighed these thoughts in my mind while walking along fallen autumn leaf-covered sidewalks, I couldn’t help but notice all the varying kinds of leaves. Maple, oak, birch, sycamore, beech, poplar, elm, and chestnut.

If someone desired to gather an assortment of different fall leaves, it would make a nice project, I thought. And then I began noticing the variations of color even in the same type of leaves.

Here, a dark maroon red and there a crimson red. I stopped and picked them up. There a leaf turning russet. Here a golden yellow. And even there, one still green with no signs yet of changing colors.

I gathered all five leaves, carried them during the rest of my walk, and took them home with me.

“It will make an interesting photograph,” I told Papa.

And then as visual pictures often provide ideas in my mind, one word popped into my mind. Progression. What better visual example of progression than the stages of autumn changing colors in those leaves?

Life goes on. Seasons come and go. The brilliantly colored leaves of autumn have fallen and we will progress into the winter season – actually we had our first dusting of snow just this past Monday. One season following another.

Life is like the seasons. This season of strife – warring politics and a restricting pandemic – is just another aspect of life as we make our way into the future. And it is for that future we must hope.

We must never give up hope even as we face hardships and difficult times. We hope for better outcomes, we cling to hope as we progress into tomorrow no matter the struggles we endure today.  Sacrifice and suffering serve a purpose, to make us stronger than before.

 “As we progress along our path, our experiences help us to define our own character. ~ Richard Allan Krieger

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Michigan vs. Pennsylvania

From my title you might think I’m writing about college football teams today – Michigan versus Penn State. It might be football season but football is definitely not the subject of this post.

If you read my post yesterday, you’ll remember I highlighted some Lake Erie lighthouses Papa and I visited on our autumn vacation last year to Michigan.

We left our home on a sunshine-filled, crisp fall October morning in 2019 and road-tripped on some blue highways along Ohio’s shoreline of Lake Erie. As the day progressed, so did the temperatures and it reached 80° by mid-afternoon and I began to regret my packing choices of cool weather clothes.

By the time we reached our destination in Michigan, the tide had turned, so to speak. We encountered much colder weather which eventually caused me to regret my packing choices again because I didn’t bring enough warm clothes, like hats, gloves, and a winter coat! We even encountered snow.

But there was another big difference that became so very apparent on that trip. Usually in our neck of the woods, we have some nice color on our deciduous trees during the autumn months, but for the last several years, our fall foliage just wasn’t that great. And being such a lover of the season, I missed those vibrant colors.

With each mile as we traveled northward through Michigan last October, my eyes beheld a feast of gorgeous, colored trees bedecked in vibrant shades. I just kept exclaiming, “Those trees, that color, oh, oh, oh!” as I grabbed my camera for shot after shot.

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.”~ Emily Brontë

After being fall color deficient for so long, I absolutely reveled in seeing those lovely trees with their coats of scarlet, gold, russet, and amber.

That was a year ago. And now it’s 2020 and something magnificent happened — yes, I can say that even in this dreadful year of difficulty and hardships that we won’t soon forget.

Autumn, in all its glory, shined forth here in my hometown area. The leaves this year have been beautiful and Papa and I took another day-long road trip not too far from home just to bask in all their splendor.

So I thought I’d give my readers a little quiz (no need for test anxiety, this is just for fun!) and post some fall photos for you to identify. Some were taken in 2019  in Michigan and some were taken just recently here in my own little corner of Pennsylvania.

Can you identify which fall photos are from Michigan and which are from my home state? (Answers provided at the end of this post.)

#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
#8

“Autumn… the year’s last, loveliest smile.” ~ William Cullen Bryant

Well, how did you do? Here are the answers: #1 Pennsylvania 2020; #2 Michigan 2019; #3 Michigan 2019; #4 Pennsylvania 2020; #5 Michigan 2019; #6 Pennsylvania 2020; #7 Michigan 2019: #8 Pennsylvania 2020.

Anyone get them all correct? You get an A-plus!

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Words for Wednesday: autumn

blogIMG_1915

As I wait for my favorite season of all – fall, I’ve been looking back over photos I’ve taken in years past. This one remains one of my favorites.

A favorite photo for a favorite season. And some descriptive words found in my notebook of quotations to accompany it.

Seems fitting for this Words for Wednesday post.

Autumn 

When the trees their summer splendor
Change to raiment red and gold,
When the summer moon turns mellow,
And the nights are getting cold;
When the squirrels hide their acorns,
And the woodchucks disappear;
Then we know that it is autumn,
Loveliest season of the year.
~ Carol L. Riser

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

When chores turn into blessings

blogIMG_4356I was on my way to accomplish a chore – really, a chore. Another to-do item on my list and this one cost me not just time but money as well.  I’ll be honest and admit, it made me a tad cranky.

On top of that, it wasn’t my kind of day weather-wise.  Overcast, drab skies as far as the eye could see.  Lack of sunshine muted everything from the coats of many colors displayed on the trees to my mood.  Sometimes days like this just make me want to cocoon inside my comfy, cozy home not wanting to venture out.  Yes, it was that kind of day.

But this chore needed accomplished ASAP.  So I put on my ‘happy face,’  grabbed my purse, and headed out.  Even with subdued surroundings though, I couldn’t help but notice the fall foliage around me as I drove.

I arrived at the place where the chore needed completed and wouldn’t you know it?  Those confounded computers that held the key to accomplishing my task decided to be finicky.  Just my luck.  The lady who helped me tried everything and it took much longer than necessary to accomplish the task.

But I made a choice.  Either I could continue being grumpy and complain which wouldn’t help the situation and would probably make that business’ employee grouchy as well or I could laugh and joke about the situation.  I chose the latter.

She laughed along with me and some of the other co-workers kidded, “You two are having too much fun out there!”  

I left smiling.  Yes, it took time out of my day.  Yes, it cost me dollars I didn’t want to cough up.  And yes, it took way longer than necessary.  But my outlook changed because my disposition improved.

I started humming on the drive home even while the windshield wipers beat a monotonous cadence.  And then I began to really see  the scenery along the way and that visual side of me noticed some spots that demanded capture by my camera. 

As soon as I got home, I grabbed my camera bag, threw it in the car, and headed back out again in the countryside for another drive.  I pulled over at the side of the road and stepped out of my car.

Sure it was drizzling.  And it wasn’t exactly warm with temperatures hovering around 50 degrees.  And there were mud puddles everywhere.  I could get dragged down in the murky dismal day if I let myself, but again I made a choice.  I chose to keep wiping the rain spots off my camera lens and continue clicking. 

I doubted whether my photos would have punch because I feared I had waited too long to shoot those fall reds, yellows, rusts, and oranges.  Already many leaves have fallen off the trees.

blogIMG_4366But I still kept walking along and shooting.  I came upon a parked pickup truck with company signage on the side of it and a gentleman came around the truck asking me if where he had parked was blocking my access to a driveway (he thought it was mine).  I answered no, that I was just taking some photos and pointed in the direction of a stand of trees.

And he replied, “Isn’t it beautiful?”  So we stood there in the misting rain on a day that seemed so lackluster and discussed the leaves and their finery.  He worked for an engineering company and shared that he sure enjoyed the scenery on his trip down here to my neck of the woods.  That’s when I noticed his license plate – Vermont.

“Oh,” I replied, “I bet our colors don’t hold a candle to yours.”

On the contrary, he said the leaves this year just turned brown and fell off the trees where he lived.  That’s why he was enjoying our fall foliage so much because he missed seeing theirs.

After a friendly wave goodbye, I walked back to my car and drove home thinking over my afternoon.  Going out for that chore turned into a blessing.

I believe God used that chore just to remind me that no matter how dismal things look, a change in attitude does wonders.  And He placed that engineer in my path so I would remember that even when the world seems dim, He gives us so much for which to be grateful.

Even rainy, downcast days.  Legs to use for walking.  Eyes to see His beauty.  Cameras to capture that beauty.  And a truck from Vermont to remind me to appreciate what the Lord provides.

“The grateful heart that springs forth in joy is not acquired in a moment; it is the fruit of a thousand choices.” – Nancy Leigh DeMoss

©2014 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com