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October brings back memories of walks with my mother through the crunchy autumn leaves in the fall. We would have a great time, talking and walking through the park or neighborhood where I grew up. Times walking with her made me appreciate autumn’s beauty. Our annual fall walks gave us a chance to reconnect and reflect on our shared experiences. I feel very fortunate to have had a parent who gave me a sense of nature’s gifts at an early age.

There is a book I often purchase for first-time parents. It is The Sense of Wonder, by Rachel Carson. The current edition is published by Harper Collins and contains wonderful photographs by Nick Kelsh. Rachel Carson, of course, was a visionary whose message has not lost its meaning over five decades. In The Sense of Wonder she describes adventures with her grandnephew at the coast, in the woods, in a field of grass. She takes him for early morning or late night walks. They listen, touch, smell and let nature inside all of their senses. Her approach does not need to be limited to a child. Each of us can find joy and awe in nature’s beauty. Carson leads us to realize that not just knowing but feeling the world around us gives the richest experience.

Many things can spark a person’s interest in nature. Bird watching is one, but skiing, rafting, hiking, gardening, and many other ways can be found to appreciate nature’s beauty in Lane County. Even a walk in the park on a beautiful autumn afternoon.