I was born and raised in Virginia and I have never lived anywhere else. Now in my retirement years, I am lucky to live near the Shenandoah National Park. In fifteen minutes I am on Skyline Drive, and in another thirty minutes I am in Big Meadows, my favorite area of the park. This week I had the good fortune to drive up three times. Even though in the “low land” where I live autumn is just beginning to make its mark, in SNP red, golds and oranges are emerging everywhere. In another week or two it should be fantastic.
In the meadow there are berry bushes changing to a deep rich burgundy color, milkweed pods opening to spread their seeds, grasses blowing in the wind with an occasional goldenrod pepping through. The ferns are dying back to lovely shades of gold and brown. It is quiet and peaceful. Because the full moon occurred this week, the animals were not out at sunrise. They use the brightness of the moon to feed and forage at night, so when we arrived their tummies were full and they were sleeping in the woods.
National Public Lands Day was Saturday, September 29th, and entry to the park was free. There were many people hiking and enjoying the crisp autumn air. I was part of a group of volunteers who worked in Big Meadows to control Black Locust trees that are threatening to change the landscape there. It was a wonderful day in the Park. But, then, every day in the Park is a wonderful day.