Thursday, November 3, 2011

Misty Autumn Morning and An Encounter With The Mysterious Phenologist

It was a cold, misty morning. I bundled up with Raffi and we set out into the deep russet red of the November woods, camera in hand, hoping to capture the last firey colors before they blow away. Autumn is so short and precious...blink twice and you might miss it.

My heart was pounding as we entered the forest. Surely, this is the absolute height of color for the year. Copper leaves spilled everywhere, fluttering and spinning through the air.

We came to the hunter's lookout that was put up in the summer.

Behind it, thick fog curling around tree tops.

The little wild daisies on the roadside were a pale contrast to all the deep vivid colors. They were wilting and wet with dew, but still holding on.

Sometimes, when I'm leaning close to take a picture of brittle weeds and brush, I wonder if anyone else who walks by thinks they are pretty like I do.

And did anyone else notice the charm of this cluster of inky mushrooms?

It was impossible to avoid the wet muck of these tire tracks, glistening with puddles full of leaves. But who can bother caring about muddy shoes when the world looks like this?

Raffi was asleep by now in his carrier, his hands folded neatly and his chest rising and falling against mine. I was filled with happiness, realizing that I was finally doing it...I was finally sharing this season with my very own child. I have longed for this for so many years!

I continued down the path, the tall trees reaching into the mist on either side. The only sound was my sneakers crunching in the leaves.

We passed the skinny trees, as I call them...they look odd and interesting in every season, but especially now, so bare, like a bunch of matchsticks someone shoved into the ground.

And somewhere along the way, I spotted him. The phenologist. Walking down the path, his hands behind his back, the faint sweet scent of pipe tobacco smoke trailing behind him.

He walked slowly, taking in the colors, noticing the wilting daisies, the roadside weeds, and the inky mushrooms, just like me.

Or...was it just an old man?

In my imagination, he is the phenologist. Noticing all the little seasonal changes. Jotting down careful notes in a little book that is falling apart with age. Drawing sketches of plants and insects. Taking photographs of the first green spears of wild garlic in March and stopping in his tracks to listen to the crow's lonely caw in December.

As we stepped out of the forest, I turned back to look at the red tree tops, and thought of the phenologist, whose heart is one with mine.


  1. Your photos make my heart sing! They are so beautiful. And you are too - you and your darling boy look just wonderful. My heart rejoices along with you that you get to share your favorite time of year with him. God bless!

  2. I must see your forest one day! Breath taking photos, and I love the skinny trees!

  3. Dawn, thank you so much for sharing these GORGEOUS photos of your beautiful Autumn in Austria. I just love your photos. The colours, the depth, the ambiance.
    Enjoy your Autumn. I'm glad you are able to get out and enjoy the beauty that is around you.

  4. These pictures are so incredibly gorgeous... you really do live in an enchanted region! ♥

  5. awww wow!
    What an inspiration to read and see...had to save your photo for me to look at over and over. You look so sweet and beautiful!
    Miss you so much...J

  6. HI!!! Dawn beautiful pictures love the colors of the trees . and your pictures are rely nice you and Raffi look just great

    Have A beautiful Day .Mary

    Chicago IL

  7. Oh my gosh magical . You capture all of this just for's just like bing there! Thank you...thank you....

    Blessings my dear friend..

  8. You live in a fairy world,Dawn! I, too, LOVE fall but here in southern CA we see nothing that begins to touch the beauty of your village and surrounding woods. Thanks so much for sharing... not just your photos, but the poetic paint of words you use to describe all that you see.

    Happy Day!
    Judy in CA

  9. You live in a fairy land that is beautiful beyond description. It makes my heart beat a little faster too looking at the blazing glory of the forest. So nice that you can share this with your sweet baby and BTW you and Raffi look wonderful. How nice you have so many pictures to share with him as he grows. Know he will come to love nature as much as you and I expect you will have many happy times out in mother nature's garden. xoxo

  10. That is a beautiful picture of you and your son Dawn. I love it!

    I am also quite envious of your delightful walks -- they also remind me that I spend way too much time inside. I think most of us want to be phenologists, in our heart of hearts.

  11. Oh, how absolutely beautiful!!! The forest is so different from the pine ones have such wonderful undergrowth. You are blessed to have the ability to see the beauty in the smallest creation!! You look so lovely, sharing this special moment with little Raffi. What joy and peace he will find in Nature, just like his adoring mamma! With lots of love, Sherry xxxx

  12. Oh my goodness, your photos are glorious! We don't have such amazing autumn colours in New Zealand which is a shame because I am crazy about autumn leaves! Your pictures have made my day. And that photo of you and Raffi is so sweet! Don't worry about taking photos with no make up on because you have the most beautiful skin!

  13. Sometimes it makes me feel like you are living in a heaven :)You and your baby looking so nice :)

  14. What a beautiful autumn walk. It must be so wonderful to be able to include Raffi in all the things you have loved since before he was born.

  15. Also, omg, I love your imaginary phenologist and his new blog ;)

  16. Your photos are so full of music,colours and it is a joy for the heart to watch the immense beauty of nature renovating every year! I'm happy for you enjoying these lovely walks now with your precious treasure,your son! Enjoy these moments!!!

    mamma carla



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