Today was the first day of standard time. This time of year is always special to me – a transition between fall and the coming of winter, and an extra hour of sleep! The temperatures have still been mild in the Mid-Atlantic region so, a walk along the Raritan and Delaware Canal just north of Stockton, New Jersey was the perfect way to spend the afternoon.
The Delaware River and the canal meet up creating an infinity line where the waterfall meets the river.
Washed in afternoon sunlight, the trail revealed vibrant colors and little surprises along the way.
I call these fall walks color bathing. The intensity of the tree colors that remain, reflect off the skin and the eyes soak in the brilliance, shifting any negative energy one might have into a positive flow. The longer I walked the better I felt as I looked above me and to both sides of the trail.
I know in Japan there is a practice called tree or forest bathing – walking in green to improve one’s health and overall mental outlook. The green color is calming but the color bathing of gold, orange and red is something that I just can’t explain – it takes tree bathing to an entirely different level. I smile from ear to ear! The trees are showing their true colors and I am soaking it all in, every last morsel before the cold winter sets in.
The American beech (Fagus grandifolia) was the most brilliant in the sun light.
The staghorns from the staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) were in great abundance. Their deep, velvety, crimson color popped against the golden leaves of Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) and its red berries with orange coverings framed the wonderful plumes. The horns make a luscious tea - high in vitamin C.
Shiny colored surfaces from these mushrooms growing on a dead tree were more evident as the sunlight caught their glossy surfaces.
I was lucky enough to find all four of the sassafras’ (Sassafras albidum) leaves to exam the colors. The simple leaf, the left and right mittens and the three lobed forms were all present and accounted for.
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Delaware and Raritan Canal
Japanese tree or forest bathing
The response of color on the eye
Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) reflected a warm brown-orange as the intense colors were waning.
With its golden leaves almost gone, the common witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) glowed in the late afternoon sun. The fragrance was a nice send off as I headed home.