Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fall Forage

Today I went foraging in the woods near my house.  What is foraging, you ask?


[fawr-ij, for-] Show IPA noun, verb, -aged, -ag·ing.

verb (used without object)
1. to wander or go in search of provisions.
2. to search about; seek; rummage; hunt: He went foraging in the attic for old mementos.
3. to make a raid
I was supposed to run errands with my husband, but I begged a couple hours delay because the sun was shining after a night of rain and I was dying to get outside, soak up some sun, and collect some beautiful "objets d'automne" (fall objects).  He agreed and left without me, and I happily grabbed a hoody, my camera and the clippers and set off in a half-jog to the woods.

I stopped before I even made it to the woods because the maple trees were exceptionally beautiful...right at their apex this week.  I marveled at the way they changed color...some red, some orange, some yellow, and some still green.  Each tree changed a little differently than the others, some seeming to change dramatically branch by branch from pale yellow to bright red while others seemed to change slowly, slipping gently from green to yellow to orange to red all on the same tree.  I gathered up some of the prettiest leaves from the ground and continued on my way.
The next place I paused was right before my path to the woods.  I jog this path almost every morning, but I also walk it quite regularly too.  Running is very solitary, and I do prefer to run alone, but walking is great with either a companion or a purpose.  My companions are usually my husband or one of my daughters and my purpose is usually foraging.  In the summer I forage for blackberries, which grow abundantly (aggressively may be a better word!) all along the path.  In the winter I forage for greens---ivy, lichen, moss and white berries.  In the spring I forage for the first branches to sprout baby leaves, pussy willows, and buds.  The wildflowers aren't worth gathering, as they wilt so quickly.  They are better left to dazzle delicately from their woodland garden.  And now, in the fall, I go for the richly-hued leaves and bright berries.  Here is what I gathered on today's trip...

 I love these red berries...they are full of thorns, though, so I have to clip and carry carefully.  Those big leaves are great for using on my table as a charger underneath the plates.  See how big the top one is compared to the normal sized leaf?  And blackberries, my favorite summer fruit, are normally long gone by now, but this is the reward of a true last ripe berry to kiss the summer goodbye!

Besides foraging in the forest, I also love just breathing the fresh, damp earthy fragrance and admiring the beauty of my wooded wonderland.  I really do feel it is mine because in the four years I have walked these trails, I have only enountered one person and his dog.  I "let" them share my trail that morning!

Here are some of the gorgeous sites and scenes I admired on this perfect fall day:


And I must share a few more photos...
This is what else I discovered as I was foraging:
 Okay, this last one is not a mushroom!

Even though the forest is my favorite, outside the woods is beautiful too.  The sun is bright, the colors are vivid, the sky is blue, the mountains are shadowy in the distance...and it's just one of those days where everyone seems happy to be outside (notice the golfers...and the ducks?).

As I was nearing home, I passed a field full of wildflowers.  They so didn't match the autumn theme of nature, but they were brave and beautiful in their stand against the coming cold of winter.  Pale blue, yellow and pink nestled in final glimpse of summer's palette after feasting on fall's rich hues.

I certainly am the first to admit I am not a photographer...I use my daughter's cast-off Sony Cyber-Shot with a zoom button that doesn't work in either direction and a shutter button that is super-glued in one position, and I haven't a clue about light, shadows, angles or lenses, but I love to share what I love to see!  One day I am going to bring my daughter along to take pictures for me...she has a beautiful camera and does have a clue about light, shadows, angles and lenses!

But before I sign off, here is one last picture...the not-so-good part of foraging!

 You can't help but get a little wet and muddy!


  1. These are beautiful...I love nature like pretty!

  2. You have the ability to paint pictures in my mind with your words alone!
    Today's real pics were an added bonus!
    I wish I could have been on that walk with you.