Mid September until Halloween is for me the best and brightest time of the year.
After a beastly hot summer in Denver, it’s finally cool enough in the afternoon to enjoy walking through the neighborhood, the sidewalks covered with crunchy fall leaves to shuffle through, like when I was in kindergarten. People who love kids put up Halloween decorations. There is a sense of new beginnings in the community as the children and college students head back to class. My grandchildren were wild with excitement for trick or treating.
Of course, the pandemic put a damper on the whole trick or treater thing, --again!--though in fact we are getting used to having everyone wearing masks!
The neighbors in one house on Kingston Street went all out decorating, with spooky bodies flying in the stiff winds we had, as you can see in the attached photo. Skye was upset when I pulled my own decorations out of the shed. She barked aggressively at the plastic ghosts and skeletons staring at her with big black plastic eyes. I finally had to turn them with their faces to the wall until I could get them settled in place out front with the jack o'lanterns.
We had a few sets of goblins and ghosts and assorted malefactors at the door Halloween night, but this year I didn’t invite them in. Year two of the pandemic called for a repeat of a big bowl of sweets set out on the porch with a note that said, “Happy Halloween! Help yourselves!” In previous years I have also passed out children’s books, but since Quarantine has returned like a nasty hobgoblin, this year again had tto be satisfied with a bowl of pre-wrapped candy.
The crows are thriving, I noticed yesterday as I was walking along the Highline Canal. I saw only two other birds, little sparrows. That seems like a bad omen. Where are all the birds?
The squirrels are flourishing, though. I saw at least a dozen, and as many of their oversize nests high in the trees. (In the spirit of "Where's Waldo," can you find the squirrel?)
While the Highline Canal sounds romantic, winding through the Denver Metro Area, at present there is little to no water in it. Lots of brush and trees are filling in the bottom. In the area of my neighborhood I did walk by one bench donated for walkers and hikers. As the High Line Canal Conservancy says, "The Canal Trail offers those traveling its banks a slice of nature in the city.”
The Canal is over 71 miles, one of the longest continuous urban trails in the country. It winds through residential neighborhoods, public parks, golf courses, cemeteries, commercial and industrial property and over and under urban thruways. It runs right behind my church, St. Stephens, in fact. I’m wondering how many days it would take me to walk (not hike) its length?
The walk had me remembering my afterschool hours wandering through nature areas. Iowa Field and Papoose Creek were my favorites.
The Canal Trail seemed eerily isolated. No one else was on the trail while I was walking the bit that runs through our neighborhood, though I did hear someone whistling. A woman was attacked a few blocks from here in the past year, which didn’t keep me from walking by the Canal, but it did give me pause. I walk with a cane, and I might not escape a dicey situation as swiftly as I was able back in the day. As I suddenly find myself a senior citizen, I need to get Skye, our big fierce black dog (okay, noisy big black lab) trained to walk with me and not drag me down the trail.
The trail is open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. for walking, nature viewing, bicycling, hiking, horseback riding (that would be a hoot!) and picnicking. I did see a pup tent set up in the woods on the far side, which stoked my speculation. The Canal Conservancy invites users to help out in cleaning the trail a couple times during the year, and Colorado Gives Day on December 7 is a good opportunity to chip in for maintenance and renovation.
hope all you It Girls have been out enjoying this wonderful fall.
Once the sidewalks get slick with freezing rain and snow, we'll pull out the indoor treadmill. That's when you need the fancy exercise clothes, to raise your spirits rather than staying warm. Happily, Abi has designed a ton of yoga pants and hoodies for walking indoors or out--I'm sure specifically with us in mind!
See you soon!