a beautiful day in the neighborhood

This fall is the best fall. Today is the best day.

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I went on a meandering walk through my neighborhood this afternoon and discovered the loveliest views. It’s 65 and sunny. Neighbors are raking leaves, listening to music, and taking walks. The roads are quiet and the squirrels are out in crowds stocking up for winter. I was under the impression that most of the houses in my branch of the neighborhood were built in the early ’60s, but a few steps off the main road I discovered a Free Will Baptist Church and houses that must have been built around the turn of the 20th century.

skyline drive with mary

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Mary and I have been friends for nearly 10 years. We met our junior year of high school, attended college together, and were roommates for a year and a half. She came up to visit last month, so naturally we went to Skyline Drive. It’s one of the most impressive parts of this state and I’m lucky to live so close to it. I especially love the foggy haze and flash storms that visit the mountains in summertime. It’s like exploring a primordial rain forest.

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around Grounds

Daniel had to stop by the library to pick up a few books for a research paper last weekend, so I parked nearby and took a self-guided tour around UVa. UVa’s campus is nearly always referred to as “The Grounds.” It’s a funny, sort of pretentious little quirk. I like to say it in my best high English accent: “Shall we take a stroll around The Grounds?”

They also have student/faculty housing located on the main lawn called the “Academical Village.” Sigh. What a bunch of weirdos.

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what can be found

Tomorrow morning before we depart, I intend to land and see what can be found in the neighborhood.
-Christopher Columbus

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It’s remarkable that every time I take my camera out for a walk around the neighborhood, it manages to surprise me. New growth, new decay, new shadows. I go out thinking it’s a lost cause and come back satisfied. I like bringing my camera on walks in familiar places because it forces me to dig a little beyond surface-level attractions to discover something unique, something that I never noticed before.

I’m so thankful for the sunlight and the lengthening days. I love this light-soaked neighborhood in all its brambly, kitschy, charming, brick-laden glory.

take a walk

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bee gif

Last Sunday, I took a walk right before golden hour hoping that I’d spot the mystical white deer that roams our neighborhood. I didn’t then – though we spotted it grazing in our yard last night at around 9:40! – but I did spot a patch of wildflowers pouring out from a neighbor’s yard into the sidewalk. It was full of bees and flies and late afternoon sunlight. I love this quaint little neighborhood with a mountain view and mature trees.

madison county, va

mad10mad2 mad4 mad5 mad7mad13 mad8mad11 mad9We took a trip out to Madison to meet up with my friend, Taylor, before heading to a local peach festival. She lives with her mom, three dogs, a couple cats, and some feisty goats on a few acres surrounded by mountains and lush Virginia countryside. I’m so glad I got to see it before she moves to Georgia next week. I’m going to miss her a lot. But it’s ok because we bought friendship crates at the (otherwise lame) festival!

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snow day

Every morning I open the bedroom curtain just a bit to let more light in to do my makeup. This morning, I looked out and exclaimed, Oh my gosh!, waking up Daniel on accident. A blanket of snow covered every horizontal surface, including my car. They predict another snowfall this evening. Tomorrow may be my lucky day for capturing snow in action!

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by a different route

or, Why Walks are the Best

moon in daylight sun sheer leaves glove love stark branch forest berries shallow dof tree stump virginia roadAfter taking Daniel to school on Monday afternoon, I looked about me on the drive home and realized suddenly that it was a beautiful day. We had about a week and a half of weird, dreary weather; it messed with my mood – everything felt stagnant. But Monday was cold and dry and crisp. The winter sun was at its brightest and the leaves and houses shone with its glaring light. I walked, this time, by a different route and felt refreshed. And at night, I looked up and saw Orion as clearly as if it were beaming out from a constellation chart.

Enjoy the winter light while it lasts.