The Last Smiles of Summer

The Last Smiles of Summer

Water Fall at Red Butte
A view from one of my walks this summer

I love reading about walks in Jane Austen’s books. Whether it’s Marianne Dashwood walking in a rain storm, Elizabeth Bennet wading through the mud to visit her feverish sister, Catherine Morland setting out to explore the dark halls of Northanger Abbey, Emma Woodhouse taking a turn about the neighborhood, or Fanny Price waiting for the others to finish their walks.

One of my favorite lines comes from Anne Elliot’s long walk through the Autumn fields in Persuasion:

“Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges.”

Where I live in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, summer comes to an end sooner than later. We often have our first snowstorm in the middle of October, so I try to enjoy the mountains as much as I can before the snow falls. As Jane says, “What are men to rocks and mountains?” Nature has a way of feeding our souls.

Today I wanted to take a moment to share some of the picturesque scenes I’ve enjoyed during the last few months.

Becky at Stewart Falls
In the above photo, my son and I are sitting at the bottom of Stewart Falls near Mt Timpanogos. It was a hot day, and the mist of water felt so refreshing.


Flowers at Red Butte
These are some flowers in the fragrance garden of Red Butte Gardens. It was fun to wander around sniffing flowers here.


Cecret Lake
I have always wanted to visit Cecret Lake (pronounced Secret Lake) above Alta Ski Resort. We made it just before sunset.


Flowers on way to Lake Mary
My husband and I found these little spring flowers on our way up the mountainside, where skiers usually race down.


Creek near Big Springs
We passed this little brook on our way to Big Springs, our destination. Big Springs ended up being covered with construction equipment, so it’s a good thing we enjoyed the journey so much.


Gibbon Falls 2
This is Gibbon Falls in Yellowstone National Park. No, we didn’t see a bear, but we saw a wolf and buffalo.


As you can probably tell, I am a huge fan of waterfalls. I love to visit them, take pictures of them, and write about them. Here is an excerpt of a waterfall scene from my book, Sense and Sensibility: A Latter-day Tale:

Colton set up the easel for me. Then he muttered something about having work to do. He walked downhill to sit on a log, where he opened his laptop and began making phone calls.

I soon forgot Colton was there. Painting the falls made me feel like I was back with Wyatt reaching my hand inside the falling water. As I painted the rock, I climbed it again with Wyatt. As I painted the creek, I remembered the way my feet had gripped the slippery rocks that lined its bed. In the wind, I felt Wyatt’s touch. In the roar of the falls, I heard his voice.

The beauty of the place came back to me. I wanted to capture the leaves rustling in the wind, the water falling in pillars, the great stone crumbling, the pool of water reflecting the clouds. Most of all I wanted to capture the way I’d learned to hope when I first came here. I had to give Ethan’s friend a reason to live. He would feel the warmth of the sun in my painting—shining from the leaves and bouncing up from the water. He’d hear the steadying crash in the frothy curls of white at the bottom of the falls. He too would learn to hope.


16 Responses to The Last Smiles of Summer

  1. What beautiful pictures Rebecca. Thank you for sharing them and seeing them made me think of “what are men compared to rocks and mountains.” 🙂 Loved the excerpt from you book too. Makes me want to read it!

  2. WOW! Thank you for sharing these breath taking photos! I lived in Colorado Springs, CO for a year. It was an incredible adventure.

  3. What gorgeous photos. I would love to see those places. I am lucky enough to have lived near the Peak District national park all my life so have also seen such beautiful views. Unfortunately I never took photos – so stupid. Thanks for sharing yours.

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