This, that and the other…

October 22, 2022 | My Jottings

It has been many weeks since I’ve walked in the woods, or at the cemetery or on the lakewalk. Walking from my bedroom to the kitchen during the summer was an accomplishment. Now that my fractured tibia has mostly healed, I’ve been thinking about walking in the woods near Lester Park, on the eastern boundary of our city.

When Michael and I were raising our family we lived a couple of blocks from the Lester River, which empties into Lake Superior. We used to walk over to the woods that surround the river and hike the loop and return home, which was about a two mile easy walk. Some of the pines are considered old-growth, and it’s calming and awe-inspiring to walk the needle-cushioned paths under their canopy many feet above.

Lloyd came and picked me up and we set off on one of the trails around 8:30 a.m. I took my trekking poles and they ended up helping so much, especially when the path went downhill. My bone might have healed, but the soft tissue injuries from my fall in July are still apparent, and are said to take a year to heal. The muscles and ligaments all around the knees are still sore.

We had thought we would walk twenty minutes into the woods, then turn around and walk back to the car. We ended up walking for about an hour and ten minutes. I had to go slower than normal, but oh, how lovely it felt to be out in the dry, brisk fall morning air, surrounded by falling leaves and the smell of pine.

Here’s the Lester River as soon as we got onto the trail:

The white pines grow so straight and true, and their trunks are as wide as a large refrigerator:

Here’s Lloyd standing next to a majestic white pine:

I love this poem by Joyce Kilmer:

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.


I always hope to see lots of wildlife when I’m in or near the woods, but yesterday all we saw were chickadees fluttering around and calling right above our heads. The sound of the river swirling in its various pools and rapids as we walked further away from the Lake made me breathe deeply and question why I don’t get outside more often. That is the quandary of a nature-loving homebody. I love to be at home, I love to be outside. Too often the former wins out.

Today I drove down to Lloyd’s cabin and will spend one night. He is taking a nap in the loft as I type this, and I’ve got my feet up in our loveseat/recliner, a Yeti full of cold water near me on the side table, and a wonderful window view of the forest that surrounds his home. Most of the leaves have fallen but the few that remain are rustling in the breeze in a way that makes me think they’re giving one last applause before they lose their grip and become part of the earth. Will I be able to do that? When my life is almost bare and the last of me is getting ready to let go, will I give my applause and praise to my Creator up until the very end? I pray He gives me the grace to do so.

My long-time friend Linda and I had lunch together recently and it’s a blessing to be with her. We have watched each other’s children grow up and now we are older women coping with the challenges that aging brings. She’s one of those brilliant creatives who can do almost anything artistic, but she has quilted more than anything, I believe. Linda gave me two quilts at the end of our lunch, a completely unexpected and humbling gift. One of them (which I will show someday soon) is full of orange little foxes and vibrant colors I would never have thought to put together, and it’s so stunning I keep examining it every day. The other quilt had plaid fabric and a cabin-y motif I thought would be perfect for Lloyd’s house in the woods. I have loaned the quilt to his place for a while, and here it is today, on the back of where I’m presently sitting:

So much goes into a quilt, to receive one (or two) as a gift feels lopsided or heavy, like you’ve received so much more than lovely pieces of fabric put together. I cherish them.

Are any of you Doc Martin fans? I am, because my dear friend Su introduced Michael and I to the series years ago. Of course I then had to initiate Lloyd, and he is a devoted fan. Su let me know recently that there are two episodes from the final season out, and last night Lloyd and I watched them. We laughed out loud several times, and he said, “You know how good these are when the whole episode goes by in just a few minutes.” I’ve also been enjoying the week-by-week releases of the newest season of The Great British Baking Show. What have you been watching lately? Shetland is on my list too.

My middle daughter Carolyn was in a delightful community play recently called Nunsense!. She played Sister Robert Anne in the musical, and was one of five singing and tap-dancing nuns who had the audience laughing and clapping along with them. Here’s a photo of my girl (she’s the nun on the right):

I’ll share some other things when I post again, but it’s getting close to dinner time and Lloyd and I are going to make a salad and split a sirloin steak to thinly slice and put on top of the greens. We also bought a loaf of French country bread at Costco and that sounds like something that would make the parotid glands awaken.

What do you always buy at Costco? Our store is fairly new so I’m still getting accustomed to it, but here are some things I’ve loved from Costco: their organic chicken breasts, frozen blueberries, cauliflower crust pizza, and bed sheets. Lloyd is partial to their extra-large pumpkin pies.

Have a peaceful weekend, friends.


  1. Helen in Switzerland says:

    Hi Julie
    I’ve only ever watched a couple of Doc Martin episodes – but by chance we spent a week in Port Isaac in Cornwall last year, where is is filmed – very pretty, but very tiny fishing village. We loved it.
    I’m a big Shetland fan – I have watched all the series several times – and have been to Shetland twice – I even have a phot of me sitting on the wall next to Jimmy Perez’s cottage. Shetland is a fabulous place to visit. I fist went there at 21 and wrote my Bachelor thesis there. Last time was right before Covid – on a knitting trip. I hope to go back sometime in the not too distant future.
    Another series you will certainly like is Vera (same writer as Shetland) – that’s filmed where I grew up in Newcastle/Northumberland – so always makes me feel pretty homesick!
    Glad to hear that you are healing well and are able to get out in the woods!
    Much love, Helen

  2. Just Julie says:

    Thank you Helen! I love Vera, and now will be thinking of all those surroundings in a different way. I just started Season 6 of Shetland yesterday. My dear friend Su just finished watching Season 7 and said she sobbed at the end. I look forward to getting through to the end. You should write a book about your travels, Helen. I would buy it and read it and give it to a bunch of people. 🙂 xoxo

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