Autumn, with all its glory, arrived suddenly this year. The bright sunshine of summer whisked by and the cooler mornings of fall have crept in. The small, colorful summer flowers are still here, but the much cooler nights will soon see them gone.
To my way of thinking, it’s never too early to enjoy the crisp freshness of fall. And with it comes those particular feelings that fall brings, and a reminder of the snow and colder weather to follow. What are these “fall feelings”? They can be whatever you want, but I want to share a few of the many “feelings” that fill me during this season.
- The bright beauty of changing leaves. Bright flashes of red and yellow herald the season. The first hint of fall’s arrival that makes my heart sing is the bright red color of the trees lining White Mountain Road. This festive color begins to show at the very tops of the trees. Then, like slowly dripping paint, it starts to drop through the rest of the branches. As the days grow shorter, the leaves seem to change more and more quickly until they are completely scarlet. The willowy aspens, with their lovely yellows and gold of fall apparel, bring a dancing movement to the scene as the wind ripples through the groves on the mountains.
- The soft fall of pine needles. As the winds pick up and get brisker, a carpet of gold and brown pine needles is scattered all over the Mountain. As I look up into the Ponderosas, I see where the older needles have already turned color, readying for their flight to the ground. There will be time to rake them up in the spring, but for now, they are a reminder of the cycle of shedding and regrowth. The oak trees also show off their bronze leaves, and they cushion my boots as I hike along my favorite trail. It’s as if all outdoors is getting ready for the changes to come.
- The scents and sounds of autumn. To me, there is a crisp quality to the air, a dryness to it. The pungent smoke from chimneys and campfires is a reminder of comfort and warmth after being outside, bringing with it the memory of friendships and the cozy sensation of autumn. As the leaves lose their moisture, there is a different sound, a gentle rustle when a gusty wind skips them along the forest floor. The V’s of flocks of migrating birds is a sure sign of cooler weather on the way.
- The changes in the weather. In years past, I remember October as being warm and balmy, a last touch of summer. This year’s cycle is different. A freeze has already happened, and I can feel winter coming close. Somehow, even the rays of the sun feel softer with the shorter days, bringing a quiet, mellow feeling.
Autumn is an opportunity for me to use all of my senses to savor the season. As I begin to remember the magic of warmth with layers of zip-up hoodies and lighter-weight jackets, I welcome the changing season. You too? Autumn, here we come! Living unstuck to celebrate the season.