Before these beautiful fall days turn into icy winter, I'm on a mission to enjoy every single gorgeous autumn night that I can. I've taken to dragging Jon and Noah out for walks after dinner. (Although maybe "dragging" isn't fair. ) They're usual willing to go along with it.
One of the fun things about our area, is that if you walk in one direction, you are steps from hustle and bustle of a small city. So, you can have an entertain stroll to the coffee shop for a drink or take it as you go. There are parks and lots of people and streets of windows to be walked past and window shopped.
But then, if you begin your evening adventure and head in the other direction, you just a few steps away from gorgeous nature! It is truly the best of both worlds around here. At least to me.
The little lake near my home, that I grew up down the street from.
The most massive snapping turtle that I have ever seen! His shell was about a foot and a half in diameter!
I found a wild apple tree.
It was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year on this day. We're a secular family, but sometimes we celebrate Jewish cultural traditions. I made a meal... roast chicken, with roasted potatoes and carrots. A strawberry and apple salad with honey dressing and some challah. Nothing fancy, but it was fun.
After dinner, that's when we went on our bike/walk.
Swans at the lake.
Noah asked for some cinnamon bread and butter for dessert. So I packed it up for him and took it with us.
Sometimes the most simple pleasures are the very best.
We sat by the water and threw bread, our own little version of Tashlich. Here is a definition of what traditional Tashlich is from About.com
Tashlich (תשליך) is a ritual that many Jews observe during Rosh HaShanah. "Tashlich" means "casting off" in Hebrew and involves symbolically casting off the sins of the previous year by tossing pieces of bread or another food into a body of flowing water. Just as the water carries away the bits of bread, so too are sins symbolically carried away. In this way the participant hopes to start the New Year with a clean slate.
Since we don't really believe in "sin" from a religious perspective, (although we do believe in being your best, most good-hearted and caring person) when we threw our bread into the water, it was not to cast off sins, but to throw away the things we did in the past year that were not conducive to this. And, we came up with hopes for changing those negatives into positives.
For example, as I threw my piece of bread into the water I said: "I wasted far too much time worrying this past year. I'm ready to conquer my fears and be free of them and to be more present in the moment with my family!"
Tashlich was really fun for the three of us. It was meaningful and we all benefited and got to have a nice discussion together.
Then we went home for a piece of honey cake that I made that day.
What a perfect evening!