As I look out the window while I sit at the computer, I am amazed at how the leaves and the calendar are in sync. At 10:29 tonight, Eastern Daylight time, the Autumnal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere arrives. And just like clockwork, the leaves are beginning to fall. I filled six bags for pick up today and that barely scratches the surface of what’s ahead. I live in the woods and I’m surrounded by the most beautiful trees, but by the time mid-December rolls around, I’ve just about had it and I’m beyond ready to hang-up the rake and leaf blower. You see, just about every leaf on every tree will find it’s way down to the ground and that means cleaning up and picking up before the Winter Solstice on December 21st.
But what a glorious time of year we’re about to behold.
For a kid who grew up in Southern California where Fall meant the ocean got cold and the sand was damp from the marine layer that would roll in during the evening hours, I admit, I look forward to Fall. The changing leaves are part of earth’s rich kaleidoscope of colors.
I walked the C&O Canal this weekend. The fog was hanging over the water and as the heat from the sun burned off the haze, I noticed the trees there were starting to change color too.
This was a Leroy and Laurie favorite time of year to walk there because every weekend we watched another shade of orange or yellow or gold wash over the canal. We both loved to inhale the cooler, less humid air and take notice of another season passing under our footsteps.
Leroy could never make up his mind if he liked Fall better than Spring. He used to say the Fall signaled an ending of sorts, with all the leaves falling and the trees getting ready for their Winter nap. I would dread the gray of Winter after all that wonderful color. The gray was endless.
When his cancer made its final charge and the scans revealed so much disease in so many places, he thought about the last year of his life and among those thoughts, were our walks on the canal and how therapeutic they were for so many reasons. And he remembered those crisp, Fall days, when nothing felt better than to zip-up a heavy cotton sweatshirt and put on a favorite pair of jeans and walk among the brilliance of all those colors.
The canal would wrap it’s arms around us and we’d leave private conversations and footprints behind for the wind to disseminate later.
So, make the most of it, this Fall of 2014. If I’ve learned anything about the seasons, they change more than leaves, they change lives.