Bountiful, beautiful leaves


A weekend trip to our tiny house in New Hampshire has jump-started me out of the complacency that had become normal during these COVID times. With such a crazy, uncertain future, it somehow felt wrong to celebrate life.

Saturday was a brilliantly sunny day. We drove up to New Hampshire taking the back roads so as to avoid traffic. When driving on the highway, I do not appreciate the scenery as it whips by as fast as riding on a carousel. Taking the less traveled roads at a leisurely pace allows full immersion. I greatly enjoyed viewing the many architectural splendors from the 1800s, and the newer, innovative residences built into the side of a hill, surrounded by mud for extra insulation, and the mid-sized apartment buildings rising out of nowhere. (I always wondered … with so many acres of wooded land for miles around, why do six families need to live so close together in one location?)

As it happens on those windy roads, there was a break in the trees allowing a glimpse into the distance where lake water was like glass, with the surrounding trees mirrored in duplicate. A few ducks lazed on the lake as a few more flew overhead. The trees were full of brilliant leaves of amber orange, scarlet red, pumpkin, blazing yellow and crisp gold. A mountain rose in the distance with the shining sun highlighting the collage of colors. It was such a mesmerizing sight that my heart fell in my stomach, goosebumps adorned my arms, and spirituality filled my consciousness. My daydreams after viewing this inspirational sight reflected the happy, autumn memories of my own life.

As a child, I loved to rake a huge pile of leaves only to jump in them, scattering them every which way so they had to be raked again. I would plop my younger brother into them causing him to giggle almost uncontrollably. When the leaves were raked on top of him, completely obliterating any view of his face or body, the laughing would stop, and I knew it was time to dig him out into the sunshine once again, where he would once again smile with joy. Such a simple activity, but such complex memories.

My children and foster children also loved jumping into the leave piles. Hubby would rake a huge pile, almost taller than they were. After throwing their bodies willy nilly into the mound, they would pop up quickly, colored leaves stuck in their hair and on their clothes, and often missing a shoe and sock that was relegated to the bottom of the pile. I was pleased when they learned to rake the leaves themselves and I could just sit in a lawn chair and watch, their chortles causing me to snicker in response. Of course, their ability to rake became even more important when we had to start bagging leaves.

The fall also rustles up memories of hayrides with my children, often to get to the pumpkin patches to pick out a suitable specimen for carving. Hubby would sit with them afterwards and guide the knife as it would cut out the iconic two eyes, a nose, and a gap-toothed smile. The candles would be lit carefully and placed inside, and the top of the pumpkin plopped on like a cap. (We were not very creative, and our pumpkins all looked alike …)

Always a gastric thinker, I greatly enjoyed sitting around the fire pit in our backyard roasting marshmallows and making smores, as well as drinking apple cider with cinnamon. So many places have cider donuts and marshmallow/chocolate brownies which try to mimic this memory, but do not come close to my memories of the actual taste.

Thus, the autumn season has once again inspired me to smile and to appreciate the wonderful life I have led so far. Sure, I may age and my leaves fall off, but new leaves will return in the spring. Life is good!

autumn. leaves


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