Falling Back


Nov. 4, 2022. Late fall is a time of falling back — with our clocks, and sometimes our habits. It can feel like back-tracking. It’s harder to pull myself off the couch. My mind goes to snacks. The ever-earlier sunset brings a mild sense of dread. I know how this goes and I know what to do: increase ambient lighting with more candles and lamps, mentally reinforce my work-out commitment, and schedule some social engagements.

Also….get out there to seek the last of the colors, because surprises can be found! As nature falls back into its hibernation stage, it leaves remnants of its glory before succumbing to “the gray season.” It reminds us that rejuvenation time is necessary – for both nature and humans. That all seasons have their time. And that it’s ok, even healthy, to slow down and fall back once in awhile. Spring will come again. It always does.

See examples and captions below from recent outdoor excursions near Washington D.C.

Sometimes a fall surprise is close to home, even in urban areas. This was my first visit to Winkler Botanical Preserve, just a few miles from home. It borders a busy highway but the traffic noise isn’t audible here.
The colors of late fall are soft and subtle at Great Falls National Park. Most visitors look only at the Potomac River, rushing past just beyond this photo, but creeks like this have a quieter beauty.
As I hiked north out of the park, I encountered this spillway in the Potomac, a mile or so above Mather Gorge and its dramatic falls. It reminded me of many spillways we encountered on board Mainship Many Moons while traveling through the nation’s great inland rivers last fall.
The paddle board is a great way to see subtle fall colors…such as in Alexandria, Va., on the George Washington Parkway.
At Washington Sailing Marina, I looked for burgees to identify boats that have done (or are doing) The Great Loop. No luck here.
The setting sun illuminated a single sail. Many boats were out on this warm late-October day.
Sunset on the Potomac River just north of Mount Vernon. It was an overcast evening, but I think the clouds are about to break at the horizon, as they often do at sunset. (That must be a meteorological effect…?)
Sure enough, the clouds broke.As the sun sank and the glow grew, this cruise ship passed by!
Yes, the orange glow was this strong. Many people watch just long enough to see the sun sink over the horizon, and sometimes miss the extraordinary post-sunset effects.
A few blocks from home, the colors were still visible even as leaves covered the ground. This park is blocks from my home in Arlington, Va.
Doesn’t this make you want to create a pile of those leaves and jump in them? Well maybe not, at our age. 😉
The weather stayed warm into November, so I took out my board into Boundary Channel, which parallels the Potomac River near Washington D.C. That bridge is heavily trafficked but few motorists notice they are passing over water.
Oh my. Sometimes it’s a hassle to get my board into the car, drive somewhere, blow it up, and get it into the water at the right time of day (in order to avoid DC-area rush hour). But oh, the lovely surprises!

Reminder: This blog has a menu on its home page. To read about the boat, click “The Boat” from that menu or click here. To read about The Great Loop from the beginning, click here.

5 thoughts on “Falling Back

  1. Feasting on the Fall color while the weather is still mild and the sun is low on the horizon is your reward for the reluctant nudge to get off the couch. The beautiful photos are your gift to all of us. Thank you!

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  2. Mary, just had to write to you this morning. Loved this blog…oh, the fabulous pictures!!

    The 4 Redemptioneers have taken a 4 week break from The Loop. Lee and I are at our vacation place in Decatur, MI. now. We have been exclaiming about the very thing you’ve been chronicling. The muted colors of the later Autumn are so lovely! We missed the vibrant earlier colors that everyone from up here have talked about for the weeks before we got here. But when looking out our windows here at this time, we’re exclaiming about these later beautiful colors! Have they always been like this after we have dismissed the “Fall Colors” and moved on? Did we stop appreciating these golds, oranges, reds and myriad shades of, yes, browns?? Is this year different and more lovely than years past? I’m sure it has ever been thus but we weren’t paying attention!!

    Thanks for helping me to realize even more today how truly blessed we humans are if we only keep aware!

    I’ll try to send you a picture out this window where I saw 3 deer this morning.

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    1. So true! “Staying aware” requires intention, doesn’t it! (And a willingness to look deeply. I found that was more difficult on The Loop than I expected. Seems we were always planning the next moment, vs being IN the present one. One good reason to take a break!) What a joy to read your comment. Thanks for keeping us posted. Would love to see your photo of the deer. I miss that, spending autumn on the east coast…

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