Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lingering Autumn

My front steps
Yet another beautiful mild sunny day in Minneapolis. I'm experiencing something akin to spring fever, but with a twist: I feel drawn to the outdoors even when I have things I need to do indoors (that's the part that's like spring fever), but with even more compulsion, because we are headed not to summer, but to a Minnesota winter.

On my not-quite-daily walks with Brigit, I usually head to the mailbox to drop in a postcard or two for my Postcrossing exchange. The round trip is about 2/3 of a mile (1 km), just right for an old dog, and for me, too. I tend to be somewhat purposeful when I walk or ride my bike—I need a destination to motivate myself. So when I don't have anything to mail, I'm not so likely to get out for a walk. Hence, the Postcrossing hook.

I like my neighborhood and its mix of natural areas along the Mississippi River and Minnehaha Falls, and its small residential gardens and houses. Most of this area was built up in the 1920s after the Ford plant opened across the river in St. Paul, and the Intercity bridge, known informally as the Ford bridge, was built. Soon workers at the Ford plant were building modest Craftsman bungalows to live in, just a short commute from work, and the Longfellow neighborhood was born.

Some of those bungalows now have sweet gardens and I enjoy varying my route from time to time to change the view. With this lingering autumn, there's often still plenty of green and even an occasional blossom, especially with cold-tolerant flowers like this lovely little periwinkle tumbling over a garden wall.

Today I turned up a different street than usual and discovered a second pensive gargoyle in the neighborhood, sitting in a less abundant garden than the first (shown in this post, also about my walk to the mailbox), but still in an attractive setting.

A few jack-o-lanterns still sitting on front stoops have that weary after-the-party look.

Although most of the trees and shrubs are bare, some colorful leaves are still hanging on.

And back in my own garden, where, on Sunday, we finally raked our leaves off the lawn and onto the gardens, a couple of cheerful violets peak through the debris.

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