Social media and television are putting us into stress overload. Totally understandable. People are passionate about who will lead America for the next four years. If anything, we’ve been knocked out of our complacency that our democracy is strong and self-sustaining. It is neither. BUT this is not about politics. It’s about escaping the stress and enjoying life in between the super-sized statues, sign-counting, nastiness and, well, everything.

It’s fall in Northeast Ohio There. Is. Nothing. Better. It doesn’t matter if it’s warm or chilly. It’s time to take deep breaths, raise our eyes away from our phones, pull the ear buds out and let our senses free. I am as guilty as the next person and I hate myself for that. When I’m out walking the dogs, I tend to be either listening to a podcast (I love Lore, with its spooky stories and history) or calling up one of my sisters to just chat. I’m not even paying attention to how my toy fox terrier Penny (the BEST dog on the planet. And the cutest) is enjoying being outdoors.

This past weekend, after a super stressful week full of 12-point To Do lists, I had a talk with myself. I decided to leave the phone at home during my walk. I parked in the Cleveland Metroparks Rocky River Reservation and actually walked. My mask was hooked on the ears, but beneath my chin. If people approached, I quickly pulled it up, hoping my eyes conveyed my smile. Penny the Magnificent was in 7th heaven. So was I.

I’m pretty sure the fall colors are peaking right now. But it’s not too late. Get out. Enjoy. Breathe deeply. The next six days are going to be filled with meanness, pettiness and ugliness. Look up when that starts happening. Enjoy the vibrant reds, golden yellows and deep burgundy of the leaves. With each crunching step and snap of twigs, try to smile. That is Mother Nature telling you to relax and that there is a season for everything.

The website is a wonderful source ( of areas to visit both locally and around the state. There is still time to enjoy fall’s glory. Of course, we have the Metroparks. Venture out. What about the North or South Chagrin reservations? Explore more than 23,700 acres in the 18 reservations throughout Cuyahoga County and Hinckley Township.

One word of warning: I was outside in my driveway on a work call, trying to enjoy some of the glorious warm weather. A breeze hit and suddenly, I was being pelted with acorns. I literally had to run into my garage to save myself. I muttered something about the darn (I didn’t actually say “darn”) walnuts “or whatevers” hitting me. My co-worker, when she recovered from hysterical laughter, asked me if I was talking about acorns.

Yes. Fine, Call them acorns. I prefer to call them killer walnuts.

Now go outside and look up. You’ll be glad. Believe me.

Contact this reporter at or 440-871-5797.

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