This is my first real autumn in six whole years! After living in the shadows of mountains and being surrounded by striking sagebrush oceans, I’m back on the East Coast and remembering the autumns of my childhood. They come much more slowly here, giving you the chance to breathe in the colors and textures of changing leaves and landscapes. Have you noticed how different the angle of the light is during autumn and spring? After the blazing and endless sun of summer, it’s so spectacular to me how the light comes in more steeply, sifting through branches and brightening things with a cool fire.
roam: verb - To move about without purpose or plan; to wander.
A whole month ago, I made the great journey across the country back to my home state of Maryland from Oregon. Six amazing years on the west coast have made a lasting impression upon my heart and spirit, but I sure have missed my family. It’s so great to be home for the holidays: seeing the nieces dress up for Halloween, gathering recipes for a grand Thanksgiving, and pondering Christmas crafts.
For a roaming naturalist, this was a huge, exciting adventure!
If you’ve never driven across the country, the Great West has a Great Treat – high speed limits! I was hauling a trailer, however, and was restricted to driving about 50mph the whole way to avoid burning out the engine. I just put-put-putted my way across Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah, but driving slow gave me a great chance to enjoy the landscape.
One place that stuck out during the travel was Medicine Bow National Forest in the southeastern corner of Wyoming. Just driving by it was amazing – I can’t imagine how beautiful it must be on the inside! Well, okay, I kind of can, because there’s Google.
This pic is similar to some of the rock formations visible from the highway as you drive past the forest. (Thanks to Sylvia from Colorado Lifestyle for the amazing photo!) Those boulders are so enticing! It was hard not to pull over and check it out.
I averaged about 400 miles per day, which wasn’t too bad with a neurotic dog, three snakes, and a thousand pound trailer. I feel very blessed to have been able to cross this spectacular country not just once, but twice now.
In Nebraska, I camped at a wonderful park and serenely drifted off to sleep with the sound of rain pattering on the tent – a sound that I think many campers can attest to being quite peaceful. On the other side of that, however, the camper also knows deep down that the rain could patter peacefully for a little while, or turn into a raging thunderstorm.
Well, guess what happened!
After several hours of intense thunder and lightening, a park ranger came through each campground and advised everyone to evacuate to the park’s lodge because the park was under tornado threat. That was pretty scary, but the storm passed with no tornado and we all eventually got back to sleep. What an adventure!! Now I know much more about the Midwest in autumn than I ever had…
While I will definitely miss Oregon, this is the first year in six that I will get to experience a real autumn! Woo hoo! It’s been so long. I’ve also already ordered a winter tree finder book, and a leaf book because, well, we have a lot of leaves over here that I don’t remember. Like, a lot. There’s also already a list of things I want to plant come spring because the growing season here is tremendous compared to the high desert.
Thanks for reading! :) Have you ever driven across the country? What was your experience like? I’d love to know, so put it in the comments!
I recently got to go home to the East Coast for the first time in a year and was overwhelmed with joy for seeing my family! My niece has grown so incredibly much in just one year, and she’s now becoming all kinds of independent. I was able to visit with two of my three brothers and spend a great deal of time with my Momma Bird, who is simply one of my favorite people in the world (and not just ‘cuz she tells me I’m awesome and makes me food. But that’s definitely part of it).
I hope you all are having a good February. Thanks for tuning in and here are some photos from my trip home! Happy Wednesday!