Golden Moments

Yesterday was one of those crisp September mornings you could bite into like a perfectly ripe Macintosh apple. My youngest son, having started first grade the day before, was off for the Jewish New Year holiday. It was too good an opportunity to miss. We grabbed our cameras and headed out to our local stretch of the Appalachian Trail.DSCF0381DSCF0377

Our first leg of the trail runs alongside a dry summer meadow filled with purple aster and golden rod. My son marveled at the insect orchestra. I pointed out the different pitches and rhythms of the grasshoppers and crickets. We watched goldfinches flitting from seed head to seed head, stuffing their beaks. Trios of cabbage white butterflies danced around a mud puddle. A monarch flapped and drifted, seeking out the last flowering heads of milkweed. The air was sweet with the scent of virgin’s bower, the native wild clematis.

When we reached the woodland, the dirt path was packed, dry clay. But pushing up through the leaf mold, we spied several species of toadstool. When I told Milo about the extensive mycelium network that spreads underground from a mushroom colony, his imagination ran riot. He began inventing Rube Goldberg machines powered by mushrooms that sent secret messages down these connecting tubes.DSCF0370

We reached the boardwalk over the marshes and marveled at the variety of late summer flowers—turtleheads, purple loosestrife, jewelweed, bursting pods of milkweed fluff. At the suspension bridge we gazed down into the slow moving depths of the Pochuck Creek, looking for small trout. I think the herons had got there before us, but we did find an owl pellet stuffed with hair and delicate mouse bones.

At Turtle Bridge we counted nineteen Eastern Painted Turtles, and a water snake.DSCF0367

As we walked back through the woods, it dawned on me that at exactly this spot, six years ago, it had finally sunk in that I was going to have a baby—my youngest son. At 41, with two almost teens, the thought of another baby had been far from my mind. And yet, here he is, six years later, my late summer golden moment. What a gift.

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14 thoughts on “Golden Moments

    1. jack

      as long as you can have moments such as these, nothing that life throws at you can diminish your spirit. keep turning over stones,you never know what you will find to share.

  1. SmallHouseBigGarden

    “As we walked back through the woods, it dawned on me that at exactly this spot, six years ago, it had finally sunk in that I was going to have a baby—my youngest son. At 41…..”
    I can only imagine how thunderstruck you were at the moment immortalized above. And to be walking with your lovely boy when it happened actually brings tears to my eyes!
    Beautiful, beautiful post. 🙂

  2. emma shaw-smith

    Lovely as always, Melissa. Poignant, too. Almost felt like I was on a walk with you both. I wish!! Emma x

    You’re such a good writer, you ought to get a break soon! How about a nature column for a paper? they’d be lucky to have you! Ex

    Date: Sun, 8 Sep 2013 00:34:46 +0000 To:

  3. Nancy Kern

    Beautiful piece. Amazing observations and lovely to have shared that with your beautiful boy 🙂 Living in the moment~ nothing better than that!

  4. Pingback: TOP TEN THINGS I’VE LEARED ABOUT BLOGGING | Melissa Shaw-Smith

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