Tree crushes

Is it just me, is it just Iowa, or are the autumn trees especially vibrant this year?

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I’ve been walking around in love with the colors. And, I’ll admit, developing more than a few tree crushes. Is that weird? Probably.

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I work on the Drake University campus, which was actually named a “Tree Campus USA” by the Arbor Day Foundation. (On Arbor Day, many of the trees sport a big nametag identifying it and celebrating a fun fact about that species. Species? Is that right?) The leaves in our yard are now mostly fallen.

We took an unexpected trip down to the Cash farm in south-central Iowa on Saturday and spent the day traipsing around the property, watching Wilbur run wild and reading Anne of Green Gables. I finished it, which means I get to cross something off my “Before 30” list.

The PBS movie stays very true to the book, so much so that I found myself quoting passages aloud from memory, as I read them. Joe was amused by that, and the fact that I still sobbed when Matthew dies, even though I knew it was coming. There’s an earnestness, a sense of wonder and a celebration of imagination that Anne possesses that reminds me to set aside my sometimes cynical, sarcastic attitude and just gush about how magical simple things like the way the sun plays against the wall can be if framed in a positive mindset. The days I embrace that Anne spirit are always happier days.

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Speaking of mindfulness, I attended a sit at the Des Moines Zen Center this morning, for a Des Moines Register story I’m working on. Sitting still and silent for 40 minutes was challenging, but the fellowship time afterward was lovely — lots of warm, welcoming people.

I just downloaded the (free) Fuel/Friends autumn mix “Amen,” we’re off to brew with family and there’s a delicious smell of fresh spent grain bread filling my house.

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