One bright magical shining leaf that was known as Camelot

Sand shadows

Sand shadows

Today I shall tell you the story of one bright shining magical yellow leaf.

Before that tale births, may I share other stories of waves, sand, trees, autumn colors, and who knows what else?

Sideways sand shadows along Lake Superior

Sideways sand shadows along Lake Superior

Last weekend we drove east and north through the woods, past the two-classroom school where I work, down gravel roads, past brilliant autumn colors, into the magic of a cloistered road.  Our car wound toward the Mouth of the Huron, a remote beach perhaps 25 miles from our house.

We’ve been getting out of our patch of woods to enjoy the nip of fall lately.

“We should do this every weekend,” I say.  We nod.  We’ve said this before.

Community of trees, Mouth of the Huron

Community of trees, Mouth of the Huron

The Mouth of the Huron, just over the border in Marquette County, holds so many memories.  We camped out here with our kids, surrounded by other young moms and dads with their tribes, one weekend each summer.  The beach held campfires, volleyball nets,  tents, sometimes a pig roasting on a generator-fired spit.

If you look very closely you can see Barry with his camera

If you look very closely you can see Barry with his camera

My friend, Catherine, and I often vow to walk the sandy beach at least once a summer. Have we yet walked this season?  The answer is, sadly, no.

However, happily, Barry and I finally paused with our cameras along the shore on a windy but rather mild Saturday.

We traveled out here because a friend mentioned that the beach was half gone!

Exposed roots

Exposed roots

One must investigate.

Sure enough, the rising waters of Lake Superior–and perhaps the storm of a few weeks back–had swallowed much of the exposed beach.

Autumn beach-goers

Autumn beach-goers

It’s amazing how nature is always shifting.  One minute the beach stretches for ten feet. The next year the waves lick exposed roots.  Life shifts always.  Change is the only true constant, ever-moving.  Sometimes to our delight.  Other times to our chagrin or disappointment.

Dried grasses, autumn leaves

Dried grasses, autumn leaves

An elderly friend lies dying in a nursing home in Wisconsin.  Her heart weakens daily and now only pumps at 20% of its capacity.  I remember her in her 60’s, cutting down huge poplars, taming her forest, just down the road from us.

She enjoyed life to its utmost.  An unassuming woman, an ordinary simple woman, who modeled a remarkable ability to be present in her life with all its shifts and erosion and changes.

The swamp's story

The swamp’s story

Her daughter and I cried on the phone yesterday afternoon.

Her daughter suggested I call again to talk with her mom after 4:30 p.m.  (Which means after 5:30 Eastern time.)

When trees dress in yellow...

When trees dress in yellow…

I called.  What might one expect when speaking to a woman so close to death’s door?

“How are you doing?”  she asked.

“How are YOU doing?” I responded.

“Oh, I’m doing just fine, dear,” said my friend.  “Just fine.  It is so good of you to call.”

When the yellow sun shines through yellow leaves...

When the yellow sun shines through yellow leaves…

The amazing thing is this–I believe she IS doing just fine.

Her body may be failing, but her spirit isn’t.

She sounded exactly like that 60-year-old who used to pour me deep mugs of coffee and serve the children Oreos to dunk in tall glasses of milk.  We laughed together.

When a tree dresses in orange

When a tree dresses in orange

My friend is one bright shining leaf.

Yes, she is one bright shining shimmering leaf.

Leaves fall gently

Leaves fall gently

Now I shall tell you an amazing story of another bright shining yellow leaf.

Barry and I sat on the couch on Sunday afternoon.

Wind blew in gusts outside the window.

Leaves wave against a bright blue sky

Leaves wave against a bright blue sky

A haze of gorgeous yellow leaves fluttered in the breeze, falling, falling, to the earth below.

Suddenly we both spotted one particular yellow leaf.  The sun lit it against the forest backdrop.  Illuminated by bright light, it took center stage.

We continued to watch the leaf when suddenly it began to turn in complete circles.  We noticed its stem no longer attached to the tree.  What held the leaf?  What allowed it to turn in magical circles without any obvious attachment to the branch?  Did the branch catch a tiny hole in the leaf?

It swirled.  It glittered.  It danced.

We both delighted.

We were both enchanted.

Leaves blanket our earth

Leaves blanket our earth

I scurried to get the camera.  Would it capture even the tiniest bit of the magic?  You might not be allowed to glimpse its dance without a video, but perhaps you can imagine it twirling round and round and round, suspended in time, one bright shining moment that was known as Camelot…

Single shining twirling yellow leaf

Single shining twirling yellow leaf

The leaf fell to the earth, joining its fallen brethren.

Don’t miss any of the magic, dear friends.  There’s a show every ordinary moment, if we keep our dials tuned to it, isn’t there?

Please share any ordinary magic from your world. Blessings!

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in October 2014 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to One bright magical shining leaf that was known as Camelot

  1. Ally Bean says:

    Don’t miss any of the magic, dear friends.

    Best advice ever. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your magical photos. Coolness all around.

  2. Brenda says:

    Kathy, this is a beautiful tribute to nature’s colorful autumn finery and to nature’s ever shifting and changing blessings. When you spoke of the bright yellow leaf capturing your attention and bringing such delight with twirling and swirling, it made me wonder if this was a symbol of your friend’s life transition. Her life bringing light and joy to her family and friends, giving them reasons to delight in her presence. Showing us that we are all caught in this intricate web of life and living. And your words…mentioned also by Ally—“Don’t miss any of the magic, dear friends.” rings loud and clear to me today. Thank you so much! ❤

  3. Kathy – Your friend is indeed one bright shining leaf. I loved reading what you shared: “…her body may be failing, but her spirit isn’t.” She is in my heart today.

  4. lisaspiral says:

    Thank you for sharing the delightful bits of magic in your life. It’s so easy to forget to “look” amidst the hustle and bustle. The walk along the beach looks spectacular, if a little bittersweet. You’re right that change is the only constant. Glad you got a chance to connect with your friend, and with all the bright shinning leaves.

  5. rehill56 says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot of this theme lately…remembering people and things that always seemed like they would always be here and yet are not. Are no longer. How will I spend my time with this realization that our moment is now…

  6. Debbie M. says:

    Falling leaves, crisp mornings and nights and always changes. Seasons are simply opportunities to anticipate more gifts of beauty to discover and enjoy. I will look forward to your posts and pictures of the next season in all its glory. Your post was well-said and evoked memories of previous seasons in my life. Thank you!

  7. Oh, I loved the little shining leaf…one last spin before turning loose to float down once last time.

  8. msmcword says:

    Once again I thank you for sharing with us the beauty of the colors of Autumn in your area.

  9. jeffstroud says:


    I think I could write an essay on this blog! Shifting sands, falling leaves, changes in life and in seasons, each moment a moment to be enchanted and delight.

    in short, there’s simply not
    A more congenial spot
    For happily-ever-aftering than here
    In Camelot.

  10. To me, seeing a moment such as you’ve described with the falling leaf, is like seeing the sound of the ringing of a bell! Thank you for sharing a blessed moment of awareness!

  11. lucindalines says:

    Oh so poetic and so wonderful to read your stories. And thank you for the reminders of the magic in the ordinary. I am putting you on my list of suggested readings today. Love your fall pictures, too.

  12. john k says:

    I and my visiting friend drove up to Copper Harbor yesterday and came back by way of Brockway Mtn Drive. Amazing how with such gloomy skies the leaves can still brighten your day when looking down from that high point. We stopped at the Jampot to take advantage of the last week of business before they shut down for the winter. As usual I spent way too much on the monks wares and my friend marveled at how this little jewel of a place exists in the middle of the woods. I tried reminding him that the monks real objective was prayerful solitude, but he kept trying to come up with ways that they could increase traffic flow or how much more business they would do in town.. I think he needs to spend more time up here so he learns the beauty of the peace of the woods. 🙂

  13. Susan D says:

    Awe-inspiring, Kathy, your words and the photos, in so many ways. Beautiful to come home to, this gem. Thank you, thank you 🙂

  14. Carol says:

    As that one constant, change, happens, we need only open our eyes and hearts to find the magic. Thank you for the reminder.

  15. Lori D says:

    This post was very moving, Kathy. I’m typing misty-eyed. The comparison of the human bright shining leaf, and the twirling bright shining leaf were very poetic and heartwarming. Loved the photos, too.

    Your talk on the phone with your friend reminded me of when my Nana (Grandma) was dying. She lived in the Chicago area, and I lived, well, you know. I called her every other day and she was still the Nana I knew as a child, her wit still sharp. I had planned a date to make it up there to see her before she left. She passed away while we were on the road to get there. I was okay with it … I should say, Nana and I were both okay with it. We said all we needed to say during my every-other-day phone calls. I was able to be with family as we put her to rest.

    Thank you for sharing this, and may you and your friend find comfort in this time.

  16. Robin says:

    😀 I’m always at a loss for words when I read your posts. They are beautiful, in words and images. I could see the bright magical shining leaf as it twirled in the sunlight. I could almost hear your friend on the phone.

    It’s all magic, isn’t it? All of it. Yesterday I started a small book for my granddaughters. Short letters. The first letter was about magic, and how it is everywhere. The second letter is about magic and fish that swim in the forest when the tides are high. I wonder how many letters I can write about magic? lol!

  17. Enlightening, insightful and, magical- your words about your elderly friend and all the beauty of nature and solitude and how lives and nature changes from year to year.

    My inspiration is simple.To be alive and to be able to enjoy all that nature and life in general has to offer.

  18. Mary says:

    That was lovely Kathy!

  19. Barb says:

    Just lovely – both photos and your words. I think there is always magic in the ordinary, if I have eyes that can see it and a heart tuned to feel it. Sometimes, I do, Kathy – just sometimes,though.

  20. dorannrule says:

    This is the most enchanting treatise on fall. It should be published in print. And the connection to your old friend is a touching heartrending reminder of the goodness in a waning life. I am totally impressed.

  21. Bonnie says:

    So beautiful Kathy.

  22. bearyweather says:

    Beautiful post … I couldn’t agree more … “don’t miss any of the magic” …

  23. Karma says:

    So loved your words “don’t miss any of the magic”. I’ve had small moments recently that I wished would linger on and on, magic indeed.

  24. I Wilkerson says:

    Beautiful memories. It’s the stuff that dreams are made of…

  25. “Life shifts…always.” I have beautiful moments when I write and am taken away, like that leaf, and allow the forces of wind and spirit to swirl me into a dance of joy and unknown boundaries.
    I have beautiful moments when I read a post such as this.
    YOU are a beautiful leaf swirling into our lives, reminding us that life shifts – always – and there’s a beauty in the acceptance of that.

  26. Floating, falling leaves are indeed mesmerizing and that is a very impressive piece of driftwood! Kathy, what you have written here is beautiful – the moments we notice in nature so often are reflecting what we notice about the changes and shifts in the lives of our friends and families, and in our own lives, too.

  27. Kathy says:

    Thank you, all of you, for joining me to share brief shining moments that can certainly be called Camelot if we view them with an open heart… (Excuse me! We went to see Camelot this week up in Houghton and I can’t stop singing those songs.) Wishing you all the best, as always. Love, Kathy

  28. Stacy says:

    Yes, I do believe that ordinary moments spark the extraordinary in life, Kathy. I try to appreciate them, but more often than I’d like to admit, I worry that these moments are fleeting. Like, “Look at this dancing leaf – if only it would dance forever.” Why do I do this!? Not to worry – I’m consciously working on changing my perspective. Like, “Look at this dancing leaf – how fortunate I am to be here now.” xo

  29. Heather says:

    There’s so much about this post that’s touching. I’m sorry you’re losing your friend. I’m grateful that she’s still living – like really living and not just waiting to die. I hate to think of that. I don’t think I will just now.
    I’m glad you stood mesmerized by the magical leaf. I tried to video one in the woods the other day, captured by a single gossamer spider-web thread. Life is fleeting.

  30. Debi says:

    Beautiful pictures of a beautiful season that is waaay to short. Thanks for sharing!

  31. Elizabeth says:

    Your friend sounds like one bright shining leaf. I can picture your magic leaf. I was driving to my grandparents’ house the other day when I noticed the leaves swirling + dancing + twirling between the leaf piles on the main street in Calumet. I had to stop the car, sit on the sidewalk, and watch + photograph. I couldn’t quite capture it – it reminded me of tiny flocks of birds when they dance in the air in unison – but it was also magical!

  32. Karen says:

    What a well written story, especially about your friend. 🙂

  33. sybil says:

    Don’t let it be forgot
    That once there was a spot
    For one brief shining moment
    That was known as Camelot.

    I watched a red Maple leaf spin its way across my path on Friday as I walked in Point Pleasant Park. Its long stem caused it to swirl ever faster as passed overhead.

  34. This post makes my heart glad. Thank you.

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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