Radical weather patterns. Shifts in natural laws.

If you are given to signs and calendar predictions set in motion 104,000 years ago, it's not looking good for us.

I'm not that guy. I say we're experiencing fallout from global warming.

And, we've happened to have a bad run. That's not to diminish the hardship and loss experienced by those fundamentally affected by recent weather events.

I know I ought to offer seasonal gardening tips and give advice on winterizing your property, but I feel compelled to talk about reconnecting with the outdoors.

While nature is awesome in its destruction, it's even more breathtaking in its restorative powers.

The beauty of forest and fauna are to behold. Who doesn't have a visceral reaction to a first bloom, a turning of leaves, a snowfall?

As a kid -- first in Triumph, Idaho, and then, in Telluride, Colo. -- I had the privilege of being surrounded by beauty at every turn.

In Triumph, I lived in a teepee, and in Telluride, a tree house. My mother was unorthodox to say the least, and there were all the attendant hardships you could imagine, living as we did, off the power grid.

I realize, however, especially now that I have a family of my own, how fortunate I was in my surroundings, and how equally fortunate to have had a mother who fostered my interest in the outdoors.

For 15 years, my mother was the gardening columnist for The Norwood Post, a position very dear to her. That was her passion.

My mother's appreciation of the beauty in nature, her unparalleled work ethic, and her forward thinking are what I remember most.

I do my best to live accordingly. The time I spend outdoors is restorative as it helps me to slow down a bit -- and as my wife will attest, that is nearly impossible.

Because of Tropical Storm Irene, like many in our area, we lost power for five days.

My wife might rightly argue that drinking water, keeping food cold, showers and laundry topped the list of immediate concerns.

But I have to say, when the power came back on, I was relieved and gratified to hear our waterfall again.

The water feature is man-made and therefore reliant on power to drive its circulation. The waterfall feeds into a pond below.

It wasn't just the koi that were out of sorts. There's nothing better than the sound of falling water (provided it's not in your house).

Despite our weather's unpredictable nature of late, I'm looking forward to fall. I hope we are all inspired to reengage, reconnect or simply further our interests in the outdoors.

Shayne Newman founded YardApes, Inc. in 1990. The company is a full-service landscape design, construction and maintenance company in New Milford.