50 Shades of Brown

On Thanksgiving weekend, Al and I took to the woods for an afternoon hike. Most of the trees were barren, their leaves forming a soft, subdued tapestry beneath our feet. Along the trail, there were still hints of green—a tuft of grass, a patch of lichen. But my favorite meditation on a late November walk is to study the subtle browns of autumn’s end: caramel, ginger, cinnamon, umber, burnt sienna, slate-brown cedar, the warm copper of an old penny. Such stunning variations on a theme. And the perfect antidote to tense times.

For you, Dear Reader, here is a sample of what I saw. Relax. Enjoy the view. And be sure to play the short video at the end.








(If you can’t see the embedded video, click on this link.)

Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.


  1. Pat Bizzell says:

    I love your close eye for beauty, Ev. You are so right about the appeal of muted colors. Just yesterday I was thinking of a sonnet by Shakespeare that looks at the same landscape. Although it is more downbeat. I still love its reflection and music:
    That time of year thou mayest in me behold
    When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
    Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
    Bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang . . .
    This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
    To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

  2. Hi Evelyn- I just wanted to say that your writing has brought me a good deal of peace. I am a 22 year old student who had a scleroderma scare shortly before moving from the USA to Italy for grad school earlier this year. What I thought was routine bloodwork showed that I had a false positive ANA with a pattern indicative of scleroderma, and I wish I could say I handled the possibility with grace, but that’s not how things played out. Instead, I spent my entire summer in a state of constant anxiety and panic over the prospect of it, even after I was assured by several different rheumatologists that the blood test was incorrect. I genuinely thought I wish I had come across this blog during that time as it’s the first thing I’ve read that’s put me at peace with the possibility (and I have done a whole lot of internet reading, which has been largely disastrous for my state of mind). If I ever end up facing something this big and uncontrollable again (which I know I will in some form or another), I can only hope that I’ll be able to come to a place where I can approach it with your perspective. Your resiliency shines through in your writing, and you’re the kind of person that I hope to become as I grow older.

    • Thank you so much, Cocoa. I’m so glad to know that my words have been helpful to you. There is absolutely so much scary content out there about all the possible complications of scleroderma. I fully empathize with your struggle this summer, even as I am relieved for you that your blood work turned out to be a false positive. I hope you will continue to stay healthy and have a fulfilling time at grad school in Italy–such a beautiful country! Peace.

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