Colors of Autumn on the Appalachian Trail (and Mental Health Message )

Hello Readers, the Lens-artist theme is to share Colors of Autumn.

We enjoyed a two-day hike on a tiny section of the Appalachian Trail. 

Sweet September brought a dash of autumn color – but there is still a lot of green – as shown in this first collage.

The tree on the right reminded me of someone with arms raised up saying, “Keep the energy flowing through those meridians – lift your chin, smile, and stand tall… You’ve got this.”

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This next image is my feature photo for this post. Perhaps the two leaves show the dichotomy of late September: still feels like summer with much green – but cooler temps bring autumn color

This next photo I call “alien tree”:

Our brown Lab, Elway, is fun to hike with.  

This next photo shows Elway plopped down in the stream. 

Elway is funny because his former family encouraged him to “plop down” in bodies of water. When I say they encouraged him to do this – it really does seem like it was a behavior that was taught and rewarded – because of the way he plops.  Anyhow, the very first walk we did with Elway – he tried to “plop” in every large puddle we came across. It was weird and then we realized he was not used to walking on regular streets.  He was from the country and all of his former walks had been on trails (or back country roads) and the only water he previously encountered was “plop permissible” – but NOT now  – because in the city there was a new MO.  Elway was a quick learner, which was partly because I was so alarmed when he plopped down into a filthy puddle that had chemicals in it.  “Cocka!” Now he only plops down in streams – and I smile to remember when we were first getting to know him.

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Speaking of our Lab Elway, after the hike – we stopped to visit family and met another brown lab – her name was “Jackie Brown” and her owner said she was born March 19th, 2020 – so they call her a pandemic pup!

 

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On the way to our entrance into the Trail head, we met a Park Ranger named Nathaniel, who invited “me” to fold the flag with him as he was closing the center for the day.  

At first I was like, “NO thank you” – and firmly meant it. I then felt a little bad I rejected the offer so I tried to recruit another hiker to help him.  But that lady had to scurry.  He asked me again and I was impressed with his outreach. Isn’t this the opposite of a burned out, crabby worker? Yes, it sure is – because he was an engaged worker who enjoyed his duties and had a love for people!  

He also had such a love for his country with the way he treated the U.S. flag.  So… one of the reasons I then said YES was because I am so darn honored to be an American.

I know our country is NOT perfect – and seriously folks – if you think today’s drama is “new”- you need to brush up on your U.S history – because we, the people, of these here United States have had dividing issues all along. Our drama dates back to before the Revolutionary War – continued into the Civil War, and can be seen in shenanigans leading to almost all elections – (read about Teddy Roosevelt’s and FDRs) – and the list goes on! There has always been division and issues here in the US – partly because the great melting pot that underpins this drama Is also what gives us so much rich flavor! So let’s not ever slam our country and try not to let the heaviness weigh ya down. Instead, let’s do our best to love others and advocate our views respectfully. 

Feeling a bit inspired while helping to fold the flag, I paused to enjoy the moment. I even told Nathaniel how his careful and respectful mannerism with the US flag was admirable. Gosh – such a quick couple of minutes here that I almost missed. Folks talk about slowing down to smell the roses – well I am glad I paused to stop and help fold the US flag when the opportunity came my way. 

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This next photo shows the sign to inform hikers about possible bear encounters.  The hubs and I read this together (later in our tent) and we chuckled at a couple of the points – but found the list most helpful. 

 

This “recreating in bear country” sign had me thinking about my blog post last week- here – where I shared about watching the “American Tragedy” documentary.  It was about Sue Klebold’s story recovering from her son being a deadly shooter.  A huge takeaway was her call to raise awareness about “preparing people for difficult mental times” and to teach coping skills at younger ages.  

Sue mentioned how she never thought her sons needed to discuss “suicide prevention”  – it felt so irrelevant – until it wasn’t.

Now why did the park rangers post these tips for what to do (and not do) if someone encountered a bear? Because education makes a difference.

The chances are slim that a bear will appear while hiking, but planting seeds of knowledge and ideas about effective behaviors can save lives.  Similarly, all humans need to be equipped with ideas and strategies for preventing suicide, which often relates to managing emotions that come with everyday life before that darker time shows up. 

One of the programs Sue Klebold was involved with was teaching children how to breathe to calm their body and release stress. Other people suggest we teach problem solving and warn about mental distortions (i.e beware of the “all or nothing” thinking, maximizing a problem, etc.). Some folks have never been taught how to bring feelings into line and or how feelings follow behavior.  We do not have to act on every feeling that comes our way and some suicide prevention involves just reminding people that they can dig into personal resources, reach out for support, and remember that all is NOT hopeless.

 

A little bit of educational seed planting could help save a life. Suggested tips or ideas could trickle into awareness and pull someone up from despair during their darkest moment.

We are not sure how all of the resources help, people vary so much, but know this – we CAN become more empowered and we all need to be mindful about planting “fecundatory educational seeds” that will sprout and grow.

Here are some links to resources:

***a few more resources will be added as they come along – please let me know if you have any to offer ***

Let’s not forget that what we put into our mind impacts our thought life and our essence. We need to watch our mental diets and this song from Toby Mac has some edifying lyrics:

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Closing with a collage from after the hike. – 🙂 

 

Thanks for joining me today – and remember – the little things add up to lift our spirits.

The beautiful colors of autumn can bring much cheer – and sometimes we need to raise the arms, “Keep the energy flowing through those meridians – lift your chin, smile, and stand tall…You’ve got this.” 🙂 

Care to join in with some of your Color of Autumn photos? Go here 

 Other LAPC hosts: Patti,  Leya, Tina

 

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65 thoughts on “Colors of Autumn on the Appalachian Trail (and Mental Health Message )

    1. Hi there, well as a matter of fact, our dog’s full name is “John Elway” and yes, he was named by Denver Bronco Fans –
      thanks for reading and your photo of the swans in flight are still with me – 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I love the way Elway plops in water and how he was a quick learner at knowing which water is okay to plop in. I also love your words about America. And the final encouragement to look up and choose life is great. A very rich post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for always taking the time to read, Norah!
      And your feedback brings a smile –
      I am disgusted by so much here in the Sates but know that even with ongoing issues of division we can find our way (🙏)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You packed a lot into this post, Yvette! Some great photos, your lovely Elway, and a good message about caring and hope, backed by an uplifting, powerful song. Not being American I won’t comment on the historical/political aspects, though!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Hahah/ laughing with that – and actually in this case he is always stopping to smell stuff – and even when he was with a dog sitter – the guy said “man / your dog likes to smell a lot” – so I think he has a bit of an extra sniffer (but can occasionally drop some smell Bono’s too / esp if he has certain meats – lol – and I think dogs that have corn-based dog food and get fed sugar snacks have more gas – ?)

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I think sniffing smells is part of a dog’s make up. It didn’t make much difference what we fed our dog: I grew up in the days before central heating and she used to stretch out in front of the fire and let rip. That toasting effect made it twice as bad 😂

          Liked by 1 person

  3. This was a lovely post, Yvette. And in spite of Elway stealing the show – he’s such a cutie – I enjoyed the photos along the trail, especially the alien tree and the two leaves above it. I also liked reading about Ranger Nathaniel. I hope you have a nice week.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good stories, Yvette. Elway is so cute.
    “Instead, let’s do our best to love others and advocate our views respectfully. ” well said. Insightful, Yvette!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you for the lovely post! I loved it all, and especially that you stopped to help fold the flag. That’s an honor and you are right we are a diverse country and we all have our ideas and this dates back to the beginning! I Love Elway, he’s adorable and makes me smile! I hope you have a wonderful weekend! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Diana
      I am not sure why I was so resistant to flag folding – it felt trite at first – or something like that!

      Anyhow – it really was a special couple minutes and glad blogging let me share this small experience and other little tidbits – fun to have our blog connections 🇺🇸💚🍁☀️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your post is full of interesting thoughts and information. It inspires me to let people know the risk factors of DVT. My doctor says nobody talks about, and travelers over 40 are especially susceptible. Great post, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment marsha (and you have been in my thoughts and prayers this weekend) and i don’t know too much about DVT – a little – and it would be good to help bring it to more awareness especially as so many folks travel more and more these days –
      And I wrote more than I anticipated but there is no word length on posts and i am glad it came together –
      Hope you have a nice rest of your Sunday
      💚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Awesome – I would have helped fold the flag also. I am super patriotic and I stick my tongue out on certain groups who think they have some ownership of patriotism. My ancestors helped build this country (even if they were dragged against their will to this country). I am a Patriot and this is the only country I have!
    Sorry get a little passionate about that. The photos were wonderful as always and I loved the Alien tree which was kind of creepy!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi there
    – first if all I am really
    Enjoying getting to know you more from our blog connecting / and hearing you share about your patriotism makes me stand taller – chest out with pride for those that died for this country and for those that serve now – and for ancestors like yours who are part of the essence and fabric of who we are today!
    🙏❤️🤍💙

    Like

  9. Glad you took time to fold the flag! You right in that this country has always had some division, but it just seems worse when we are so divided during a pandemic. We can’t even agree over that. But I have to believe there is more that binds us than divides us.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Terrific post Yvette – thanks for sharing your corner of the world this week. Loved that shot of the two labs getting to know each other! Your positive energy is wonderful, thanks for the uplifting messages!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This sounds like a great hike Yvette and I liked tagging along with you… in spirit anyway. I like taking photos of two leaves where one is a flaming red or orange and the other one has not changed its color at all. I liked that photo as well as the “alien tree” you captured. It looks like you enjoyed your hike in my favorite season. On the news today they mentioned that Brian Laundrie had spent three weeks hiking the Appalachian Trail and may be hiding there now. I’ve heard of this wonderful trail which stretches many miles, but this revelation, then reading this post … hmm. You look like you’re having fun on the bikes as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Linda –

      Thanks for the feedback and the alien tree looked more normal in the setting

      Also – there was an interesting looking truck and police presence on one road near the trail – the truck had antennae and technology and after I read your comment I wondered if it was part of the man hunt for the Brian guy.
      Hmmm

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The tree was unusual like the big Angel Oak in South Carolina. It probably was part of the manhunt Yvette. Brian is an avid hiker who says he is a survivalist and the Appalachian Trail is somewhere where he said he once hiked for two months on his own. That was a reason they started searching for him as he would know where to hide, possibly find food to sustain himself while on the run.

        Like

  12. Yvette, this was such an inspiring post about nature, love for our country, sowing seeds of awareness and learning, the Park Ranger…thank you for sharing your pictures. Lyrics to Toby Mac’s “Speak Life” is a reminder of how we use our words make a difference. My kids enjoy this song too, although they thought the music video to be too dark.
    Have a wonderful weekend and take care!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi / i can absolutely see why the video was dark for children and good for your children for having the discernment
      – thanks for checking out this post and hope your weekend is going well too

      Like

      1. Toby Mac has some fun music videos, but there’s an element of darkness in them too in depicting evil. They still enjoy it but I worry more that it’s scary for them.
        My kids are like old souls sometimes, but give them Minecraft to play and all that goes out the window. Sometimes the lingo of the video world game seems incomprehensible, but to them it makes all sense. I’m learning too but it feels awkward. lol
        Hope you are staying well and healthy this autumn!

        Like

  13. What a lovely hike. (Alien tree indeed!) Nice of you to help Nathaniel with the flag. 🙂 Not a lot of fall foliage where I live, sadly, so I’m so glad to see yours. I grew up in Ohio, so I miss treeeeesssss!!!!

    Like

    1. Hi / i bet Ohio was gorgeous with it stages of autumn
      And I obliged Nathaniel but felt a little like he was “reaching out” to loop me in! It was kind of fun to feel pursued – when usually I am the one doing the pursuing or provoking engagement

      Liked by 1 person

  14. wow such a great post and glad you got away. great shots and loved that tree. You got this alright and folded the flag like a pro! ❣️ Nice job my friend! 👏👏👏👏🌷🌷🌷🌷

    Like

  15. So glad that there’s so much narrative in your weekly Lens Artist photos that I must say enjoying reading your post.

    Dichotomy on botany is good but the word itself describes in the changing climate what we are as a citizen of the world. Sigh. At any rate I like the praying tree that reminds of the poem of Joyce Kilmer “a tree that lifts her arms to pray.”

    Aren’t honoured to be asked to fold a flag. We don’t have that here in Canada of lowering and folding it. It’s always up flying or half mast lately.

    Glad you included mental health. I am a believer what you feed your brain may affect our moods. I did write plenty on CBT. On this post, I included a take away.

    https://3psbyseeker.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/feeling-good/

    Keep on walking into the woods and enjoy.

    Like

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