I went for a walk in the woods today...oh, not the proper forest, as I could still hear the clap of golf balls being hit on the adjacent course and see the McMansions through the trees....but even so, as I entered the canopy of mixed deciduous trees and Douglas firs, I felt the burdens of civilized life fall away. I drank in the visual banquet around me - leaves in all shades of gold and brown, the burnt umber of the tree trunks, the deep rich green of the moss, the pale white of the berries and rich red of the rosehips. Small mushrooms with steeple tops littered the ground in places looking like fairy lanterns that light the way along a secret path. I could hear a chorus of frogs at the edge of the water and the birds above sang a sweet and melancholy melody telling of the winter ahead. I gethered moss covered twigs and pine cones for art projects that will occupy my time during the cold, grey days ahead. The lake level was low, exposing mud flats not normally seen and the water birds were absent from their usual backwater feeding spots. Though it was only 4 PM, the sun had already begun it's descent, sending weak hues of rose and lavender to tint the clouds near the horizon. I head back with a peace of soul I have not had in days. As I near the parking lot, a young jogger passes by, heading in the opposite direction. He grinned widely, grasping a single long-stemmed red rose in one hand and as he ran by, my thoughts drifted to the young woman at the end of his path, clasping his rose to her heart - her eyes filled with wonder and the stars of the evening sky.