Seize the Moment

Today’s post comes from littlejailbird.

In a comment on a recent post, Ben encouraged us to “seize those moments.” Coincidentally, I was in the middle of doing that very thing while he posted his comment. I left the chores and responsibilities (cleaning, laundry, paperwork) that were demanding my attention and went OUT.

I visited Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden (EBWG) and also the Quaking Bog (QB) across the road from EBWG. It was mostly deserted. I assume people weren’t outside because it was cloudy and drippy, and because the fall foliage experts have declared this locale as “past peak” (brown on the fall foliage maps, giving the impression that there is no longer any color in our lives, only drab browns and grays, and it will remain colorless until May).

Well, I’m here to declare this “past peak” business silly, because it was a day filled with color and beauty. Both EBWG and the QB have tamarack trees, and those trees glowed, bright and golden. Many trees still had leaves – some had just a few and others had a lot – and the various shades of russet, orange, yellow, and red stood out against the gray sky and dark tree trunks and branches. Many leaves had fallen and carpeted the path and lay on the water in pleasing, colorful patterns. I would have been content when leaving the garden if that had been all I saw, but when I went across to the quaking bog, all I could do was stand and stare at the beauty. Words and photos don’t do it justice…. the white birches and golden tamaracks… mushrooms growing in the moss…spots of boggy water littered with leaves….scattered golden leaves peeking through a curtain of small, bare trees…cattail rushes turning yellow with golden tamaracks standing just past them. All with the rain dripping down, bringing the colors alive. It seemed a magical place. I want to go back tomorrow, but I’m afraid the magic might be gone.

Have you ever been to a place that seemed magical or extra-special?

31 thoughts on “Seize the Moment”

  1. Williams Nature Center near Minneopa State Park. It has a paved path so Sandy can do her walker. Best as buds in tress are just breaking, a special but ignored moment. Sandy Iikes it in sun. I like it in drizzle or mist. An uncultured forest. Rotten trees, dying trees, large rocks (glacial erratics), new growth, trees in prime, glades of yellow old grass with first new grass underneath, clear view of birds in the courting and house building trades. Many trees around here have twisting contorting large limbs which are clearer without leaves.

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  2. Superior Hiking Trail, which I like in drizzle and fog, except you miss the big views.
    The glades in old forests above the ravines near our apartment. Early winter or as leaves are falling. Or first spring awakening.
    The woods in my childhood.
    Up any North Shore river in the winter when the river is frozen but there is not a lot of snow. The lichens which you ignore in summer jump out at you with their surprising winter colors. Split Rock River is the best, but the split at split rock river is astounding from the river level. A sort of grotto in the swamp. Ten the falls just above the grotto frozen into castles and gargoyles. One of my short stories is about the Split Rock in winter.
    The breakwater in Grand Marais at sunset.
    Up on the buttes in Renee country, especially the one that is the highest point in the state. Stark, other worldly, barren with all the beauty in the small things you overlook in less baron places.Views that make you lonely and happy.
    Little Bighorn Battlefield, especially in winter.
    Coastline between Half Moon Bay and San Francisco.
    Lick Observatory.
    The San Juan Islands. More than any other place I wish I could go back there.
    Guadalupe National Park. Wish i could have walked deeper into the trails but I did not have anti-snake boots.

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  3. Yes, among the “little people” in Ireland, the troll rocks in Norway, Delphi in Greece, my first experiences of mountains, the oceans. And, not the least, standing among the spruces on my south forty.

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  4. Wrote a litany of special places but the damn wordpress folks insisted I didn’t have the correct password for some STUPID REASON since I’ve never changed my password or had a problem logging in until today. 😦 😦

    The short answer is any wild and isolated place where I feel my smallness and insignificance in the world. *grumble grumble grumble* (feeling pretty insignificant right now, but not in a good way).

    Irked Chris in Owatonna

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  5. Great piece LJB! Will answer later when I get to work and a computer; long answers on my phone are too hard. At ASI right now…lecture on runes starting soon

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  6. There’s a park in a small town in Wisconsin called “Cathedral Pines”. It’s exactly what it sounds like — a grand, very tall forest of all pine trees that is amazing. These are all very old, very tall pines, so the forest floor is completely carpeted with soft pine needles, It’s all shaded, even on a sunny day, the air is hushed and quiet, and it is the most serene, majestic place I’ve ever been in the outdoors.

    There are many beautiful and breathtaking spots in the outdoors, but this place had the extra quality of feeling sacred as well.

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  7. the move to the new house necessitated the dogs being taken for a walk every day a couple of times. i felt kind of bad at the last house when i saw all the neighbors out walking their dogs tha ti did not participate because the dogs had a good yard to run free in. now that they dont and i have to take them out i really appreciate the paths and trails nearby. i lucked out. as a teenager i had gone to these same parks as a refuge and a return is delightful. the spring started with wonderful smells of blossoms unfamiliar and the season progressed to wild flowers and berries then fields of bloom and the slow decline to dormancy. the deer the osprey the coyotes the birdss outside.
    i am trying to figre out how to deal with the takepver of the woods by the buckthorn that has become 90% of all we see.
    i have a grandpa bob blog coming up on buckthorn.
    my wife and i spend more time together walking the dogs than we ever did without the dogs. color of the couple of yellow leaved plants int he woods t=stand out in the green of the buckthorn walk through the woods the prairies are those wonderful russets and golds browns and blacks in the fall of the season. sunny and cloudy cool and warm the coming 6 months of walks will be a good test of how much beauty i see in the quiet of the winter season. cross country ski time this year for sure.

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  8. magical
    jasper is moonlin=ke in stark brutal beauty . this is done right after banff which has the most beautiful mountains in north america. the ice cream cone snow capped glories tha twow you as you turn the corner and continue to wow you until they fade away as the next one comes around the corner. banff is my favorite place.
    going to the sun road in glaicer and beartooth pass heading into yellowstone
    highway 1 in califoirnia around big sur
    hawaii almost anywhere
    something about ely makes the whole nortthcountry personna open your soul
    when i was a kid and we would go walk the neighborhood valleys and riverbottoms and the different fairylands we wold discover were fantastic. colors and sounds and smells and sunshine or wind in the recipe al made for special memories and gave me an appreciation for the beauty i see out there daily.
    i used to go by areas and wonder if there was a way to get back there and enjoy the beauty with the demands of making a living as part of the equation. to day the equation has changed and it is more possible than ever. maybe….

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  9. This question gives me trouble because I spent five decades seeking moments just like those LJB describes. One thing I learned was that it didn’t work to pursue those magic moments. Finding them was mostly about an attitude of reverence, a readiness to let the magic happen where and when it chose to appear. A second discovery was that the magic was most likely to happen if I got up really early or stayed up really late.

    I’ll offer just one story. Early one morning we drifted down the Brule River, our canoe floating silently at the speed of the current. The Brule was enchanting that morning, with tendrils of mist rising from the glassy surface of the river. We drifted past huge cedar trees that were as fragrant as they were beautiful. Just as we came into the charming Cedar Island stretch, we saw a doe and her fawn standing in the river. The doe had her head curled back to watch and guard the spotted fawn. The fawn was oblivious to us, for it was nursing, and as it sucked down its mother’s milk the fawn was bleating softly with contentment. No painting of the Madonna and baby Jesus could match that scene for serenity and beauty.

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    1. That scene sounds wonderful, Steve, and I think you’ve hit on something there in saying that it doesn’t work to pursue the magic moments. I’ve found that you can’t always expect the same magical feeling to always be in the same place twice. It seems to be a combination of weather, colors, company if I’m not alone, and other intangible, impossible to describe qualities. There are many examples of this, but the most recent was when I did return to the Quaking Bog the next day after I wrote this piece, it was very pleasant and not so wet (thus better for taking pictures since I’m not as inclined to set up the tripod when it’s drizzling) and the tamaracks were just as beautiful but there were other people around and they were talking loudly and basically taking away any sacred feeling that had been there the day before. It was nice there, and it was beautiful, and I’m glad I went, but it didn’t feel the same.

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  10. Most autumns out here it gets really cold too fast for the leaves to turn pretty colors. The leaves are often frozen while still green. This autumn has been an exception, and the trees, especially the cottonwoods and poplars, are bright yellow. It has been a real pleasure to see them.

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  11. Hey all! Like Chris I have a LOT of these places. Midnight on Lake Nelson near Hayward, Wisconsin – quiet on the lake with just a little wind but billions and billions of visible stars. Breakfast on the pontoon at my friends cabin on Pipe Lake – again quiet with an occasional plaintive bird call. Walking along Dupont last weekend, with leaves all piled up at the edges of the sidewalk (yes, I dragged my feet through the leaves for an entire block!) Ngorogoro Crater in Tanzania – when you look across the crater you can see the clouds “stuck” on the ridge on the other side. Sunrise at Haleakala Crater in Maui – cold and crisp as the sun comes up through the clouds.

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  12. I’m sorry to be a “Debby Downer” but it’s on my mind. The hospice center where my mother died is a pretty amazing place. I’d appreciated Hospice care in a home setting for a long time but here in Ohio there is Kobacker House. I cannot say enough positive about the people and staff Kobacker House. The design is for the living and soon to be dead.
    https://www.google.com/maps/uv?hl=en&pb=!1s0x88388dcaf17ac51f:0x77254a58e844212e!2m13!2m2!1i80!2i80!3m1!2i20!16m7!1b1!2m2!1m1!1e1!2m2!1m1!1e3!3m1!7e115!4sh
    I hope the photo comes through.

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        1. The nurse baked cookies in the cottage kitchen once when my dad’s coffee buddies came to see him. It was just like a home, warm and welcoming.

          Liked by 3 people

  13. Thank you for this, Edith! You told of two of my favorites, EBWG and QB, which are in Theodore Wirth park not far from Robbinsdale. Clyde and time mentioned Hwy 1 south of San Francisco – when I lived just north of Half Moon Bay, it was my commute except in the very rainy season (rock slides on Devil’s Slide).

    Another one for me is The Redwoods in Mendocino County – there’s a “cathedral” that Mario (stepson) has taken us to in misty weather, and I swear it’s my church.

    Great River Bluffs State Park has a very serene path through the woods that leads to an amazing overlook on the Mississippi.

    The Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains have some awesome spots. Also a little brook up from Estes Park, CO, where my folks and I stayed at Fall River Lodge.

    Nephew near Peachtree City, GA, showed us some shoals in a little stream that were just so beautiful. Sigh…

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  14. The Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland was magical, with the Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, a ruin that CS Lewis used as a model for Cair Paravel, and the Carrick-a-Rede roap bridge. We also saw the Beech tree lined lane they filmed part of Game of thrones at. Just lovely. The trees date from the 18th Century

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  15. I went to a memorial service for a friend in the western suburbs in mid-September. As I was driving back home on the freeway, I came upon the St. Paul skyline just as it was getting dark. I thought for a moment that there was a new building or feature downtown that had a really big globe light suspended in the sky. Then I realized it was the moon. Very huge and luminous and perfectly round, right alongside all the tall buildings.

    I don’t go looking for magical places very often, but once a month or so the most ordinary of places are transformed by light, on those nights when the sky is clear and the moon is full.

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  16. A day late but here goes anyway….

    In the 90s I did a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. Lying in my sleeping bag at night staring at the canyon walls and billions of stars and listening to the roar of the Colorado River made me realize just how insignificant I am in this universe. It was not only magical, it was one of my most spiritual experiences ever.

    Other magical places: the Australian outback, Plitvice National Park in Croatia, our own North Shore, the Serengeti, Arches National Park, the Amazon rainforest.

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