I have running apparel for the cold weather, and I have featured my all-black running gear many years ago in this blog. But for the past few years I chose not to run much outside during the winter, especially if the temperature is below freezing, and instead went mostly inside the gym during winter months.
However with this COVID pandemic, I am still avoiding going to the gym where people not too distant from each other are panting, and yes, it is impossible to keep a mask on when you’re exercising and breathing hard. But I don’t want to stop exercising altogether during the winter as I need to stay healthy. So I think I will be running outside even through this winter.
The title may be misleading. I did not mean that I had a fall when I was running. What I meant is that I ran and it is fall or autumn season.
Usually the fall foliage in our area is not as spectacular or brilliant as in the northeast, like New Hampshire or Vermont. However there is enough colors of red, orange and yellow to appreciate that it is fall.
Here are the photos I took this morning when I went out for my 5-mile run around our neighborhood.
You might have noticed that the grass is still very green in our area. Usually by this time the grass are already turning brown. However we have lots of rain this summer and fall, and the temperature especially in the past week was seasonably warm. In fact we were in the 80’s Fahrenheit yesterday, and this morning when I went out, it was a balmy 62 degrees Fahrenheit, instead of the usual 40-50’s. But I am not complaining at all.
By the end of this week the forecast calls for a more cooler temperature, and we will be hitting the freezing point. For now, I will enjoy this beautiful weather while it last.
A couple of nights ago I watched a rerun of the 1989 film “Field of Dreams” on television. My daughter watched it with me too. It’s been quite a while since I saw that movie. In fact the last time I watched it was when I was still in the Philippines. I had no clue at that time that one day this film would parallel my life story.
As you all probably know it, that movie was filmed in Iowa. It’s about a farmer who turned part of his cornfields plot into a baseball field. Many of his friends and family thought he was going insane converting a profitable agricultural land into a playing field that nobody would come to as it was in the middle of nowhere. Then to his surprise, famous dead baseball players came to play on his field.
The site where it was filmed which is in Dyersville, Iowa, was preserved just like it was in that movie and it remains a popular tourist attraction to this day.
The film starred Kevin Costner, Earl James Jones, Ray Liotta, and Burt Lancaster in his final film role. It was interesting that both then-teenagers Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, were extras in one of the scene at Fenway baseball stadium.
The movie featured Iowa cornfields and baseball but I believe it is more than that. Honestly, when I first watched it years ago when I was still a smog-inhaling, jeepney-riding inhabitant of Manila, I did not really dig it. However, after living in the US for more than 25 years now and understanding more the American way of living including baseball which is ingrained to this culture, I have a better appreciation of the film.
The movie though has a lot of symbolism that went beyond baseball. I believe one of the takeaway from the film is about pursuing your passion and your dreams even though how unreasonable it may seems to other people that they might think you are losing your mind. And this to me, took a somewhat personal connection.
One of the iconic scenes of the movie is when Ray, the main character who built the baseball field, and who had regrets that he did not spend much time playing baseball with his father who played for the Minor League, saw a younger version of his departed father, John, who came to play baseball on his field. The scene had these lines:
John Kinsella: “Is this heaven?”
Ray Kinsella: “It’s Iowa.”
John Kinsella: “Iowa? I could have sworn this is heaven.”
Ray Kinsella: “Is there a heaven?”
John Kinsella: “Oh yeah. It’s a place where dreams come true.”
Ray looked around at his field and at his home nearby where he saw his wife and his daughter happily playing at the porch, finally answered back:
Ray Kinsella: “Maybe this is heaven.”
When we moved here to Iowa, after residing in America for 10 years, and living in New Jersey, New York City, California and Florida, some thought we were making a wrong decision. Why move to an “obscure” land of cornfields? We were asked questions that went like this:
Iowa? Where is Iowa? Why Iowa? Are you thinking right?
But after living here for 16 years and counting, and having my dreams come into fruition here, maybe this is really heaven.
This past weekend we visited the sunflower field in Belle Plaine, Iowa. We also went here last year but at that time the condition of the sunflowers were past their peak. So this year we made sure we see them in their prime.
We were not disappointed. They’re so beautiful.
Sunflowers are heliotropic plants. A hell…. what?
Heliotropism is an ability to move or turn in response to light. So sunflowers slowly track the motion of the sun across the sky during the day to face it and then drift back during the nighttime. Though mature sunflowers may lose this ability as their stalk gets stiff.
However, during our last visit I saw a different movement in some sunflowers. They were walking!
Or so I thought. It was just my wife harvesting some sunflowers.
We were driving to a destination that is about an hour away from our home yesterday in the sweltering heat of almost a hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Not unusual for this time of year here in Iowa, for it is summer after all. The sun was gloriously shining when all of the sudden the sky turned gray. Maybe it was more than gray. Black clouds abruptly hid the sun and flashes of lighting started streaking across the horizon.
The temperature dropped more than 40 degrees in a matter of minutes. Strong gusty winds blew dust from the farm fields and torrential rain poured down making road visibility very difficult.
Then we heard loud pelting sounds on the windshield and roof of our car. Hail!
Some motorists sought shelter under the bridges, but we continued to drive, albeit slowly. We took a wrong turn and got delayed a little to where we were supposed to go.
Perhaps it was Divine providence that we got lost for when we arrived at our destination, people there told us that we just missed an awful hail storm. What we encountered on the road, which was marble-sized hail, was not bad compared to what it could have been if we did not get “lost.”
Leaves and branches from the trees loitered the ground. The cornfields were whipped down. Many of the parked cars in the area when we arrived had dents, and windows and sidings of the houses were damaged from the hail.
Here are some hailstones on the ground.
Here are bigger ones.
According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), hailstones form when strong currents of rising air, known as updrafts, carry droplets of water high enough that they freeze. The higher these droplets get, the cooler the temperature, even during a hot summer, that in fact, warmer weather might actually result in a stronger updraft. The hail falls when the thunderstorm’s updraft can no longer support the weight of the hailstone, which can occur if the stone becomes large enough or the updraft weakens.
Can you imagine if you’re hit with these golf-size hail coming to you at more than 100 miles per hour? That would be serious “bukol”(swelling).
But the storm did not last that long. In less than 30 minutes the sun was shining again, as if nothing have happened. Except for the cracked windows and car dents for souvenir.
About this time every year, our yard bursts with colors with these big fragrant blooms. These are peonies, and their flowers only last for only two weeks at the most.
Even though it’s not officially summer yet, we are having a “heat wave” for the next several days as Iowa weather is fickly. These flowers wilt fast and they don’t like the heat so we decided to harvest them early. This also provided a photo op.
My wife agreed to be my model for this photoshoot.
We will definitely appreciate their beauty, even for just a few days. I mean the flowers. The model, that’s timeless.
Bonus: While we were harvesting the peonies and doing the photoshoot, someone else, uninvitedly though definitely welcomed, came in to the scene. Here’s the video:
I like to sleep with the windows open, especially during this time of year that it’s not extremely cold nor extremely hot outside. Besides the fresh air that comes in, I also would like to hear the sounds around us, especially in the morning when I wake up. Unlike in Manila, it’s not the sound of the speeding tricycles and jeepneys that I now hear. Though I miss the call of the taho vendor.
Here’s the sound of daybreak in our home here in Iowa (you may need to dial up the volume to hear it):
PS: My wife hates it though as those noisy birds disturbs her sleep. Obviously she’s not a morning person. Good thing we don’t have a rooster!