Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Following Fall’s Lead

Saturday October 1, 2011
Sugar Bottom Campground
Coralville Lake COE Campground
North Liberty, Iowa

This is my first entry for October.
It’s been several days since I’ve posted
and there are several reasons for that.
Here’s the first one.

Today we went out for a paddle on the lake.
The sun was sparkling on the water.
Coralville Lake 003

It was a lovely fall afternoon.
Things are just beginning to change color here
in Iowa.

It’s been just over a week since Fall Equinox
which this year was Friday September 23rd

I always mark the four quarters of the sun’s yearly rounds. 
On Equinoxes (Mid March and Mid September)
day and night are equal in length.
But after the Fall Equinox darkness will be increasing,
taking over little by little
until the Winter Solstice in mid December.
Each day will be a little shorter,
each night a little longer until the longest night.
And then the circle begins again.
Fall is a beautiful time of year
as nature winds down and prepares for winter.
She turns the grasses,
the leaves, the trees and her flowers
beautiful shades of yellow, orange and red 
as they shed what is not necessary
in anticipation of the coming dark and cold.

Time to slow down she seems to be saying.
And every year I feel this.
Slow down.
Get ready for a nap.

But working in a university for years,
my pace actually had to speed up.
Fall was the beginning of the school year.
Everything was starting, not ending.
Those with children know just what I mean.

And then gear up even more,
get prepared for celebrating holidays.

But this year, I don’t have to do that.
I can follow nature’s lead and slow down.
And that’s what I did.

I spent a few hours on the water
and hardly went anywhere.
The sun was warm and cozy.
Although there were few boats on the lake,
I wanted to be out of and away
from the main stream.

I paddled slowly across the lake
and down two or three inlet coves.

Beside the rocky shores.


I paddled into a marshy wetland

and saw the last of the summer’s flowers
in the shallow waters

Coralville Lake 013

and this interesting flora on the rocky shore.


I sat and listened and watched.

I noticed the yellow trees reflected in the water.
Coralville Lake 035

The last of the flowers blooming.
Coralville Lake 022

I took a few pictures, paddled a few strokes.
But mostly I sat and drifted and looked.
I took it all in.

I watched for a long time a
very patient heron stalking his dinner.
Slow step by slow step through the weedy wetlands.
I didn’t want to interrupt his concentration or
my solitude so I didn’t take his picture.
And when the temperatures dropped to the
point where my hands were getting cold,
I took that as a signal to paddle back to the
shore and head back to the coach.
It was a wonderful afternoon and felt so much more
than the gearing up I had to do for so many years.
Hope you are able to follow nature’s lead
and that your fall is a relaxed and slow one too

Coralville Lake 023



  1. Nice to see you're slowing down and smelling the roses, except there aren't any...

    It's good to slow down and enjoy things that you rushed by during your working life. You've earned this time. Thanks for sharing it with us. :c)

  2. Great post! Enjoy the slower pace of life.

  3. Wonderful blog today!! I was relaxing just ready along:o))

    Well said my friend...

  4. Very nice post. I almost felt like I was paddling with you.

    We will be in Florida in Januarany, so maybe we can get together.

  5. Wonderful post Sherry. I am happy to know that you can slow down :) Your paddle today was so relaxing, your words well chosen. I felt I was there.
    I hope you enjoy many more days like this one.

  6. You found a great place to slow down and follow the lead of fall. A nice time of the year for contemplation.

  7. Excellent post- I love fall. I was in the textbook business so like you it is the first fall that I just get to enjoy in a very long time.

  8. Great advice, Sherry! Now if I only had a Sea Eagle kayak to go out in! I'd be paddling the Pigeon River here in Indiana and a few other favorite places!

  9. I love the beauty of fall, and your words just made it even more beautiful.

  10. How nice that looks! Jealous :)


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