Autumn is, beyond a doubt, my favorite time of year. Spring is nice, lots of gorgeous flowers popping up in localized gardens all over the country.
Summer, my least favorite season, is just too darn hot, and winter, while nearly perfect in temperature, is peevish like a spoiled child, throwing a tantrum regularly.
But autumn; wow. The colors are not shy like Spring's gardens, they shout from every tree and branch, declaring the end of summer with a Hallelujah to rival the angels in Heaven; the temperatures warm, but not too hot, cool but not cold; the sun, lower on the horizon, casting it's golden light enhancing the trees, aflame with their celebrations.
The bounties of the garden continue, with a second wind found somewhere along the first of September; late summer plantings beginning to bring forth their fruits, now that the dog days of summer are past.
Autumn is time for Leaf Day.
Sadly, we only got to do this one year, but it's a memory that will live with us always.
We lived on five acres in what was then sleepy Delta, Colorado. We lived in an old house that had been built around the turn of the last century. We had trees. Old trees. 14 large, wonderful trees; Cottonwood, Poplar, Apple, Pear. Some of them over 100 years old; big and bossy, protesting as the wind tried to get the better of them more than once.
If you've never been to the Western Slope of Colorado, it's a dry place, water is precious, snow is rare; all this means that autumn is dry and the leaves crackle when you walk on them, crunching merrily as you kick and fling them about. The smell of dry leaves is something to behold, and here in Oregon, greatly missed.
For this, the first and only Leaf Day(we had planned and plotted for other years, but having moved away from our glorious trees, with their equally glorious Autumn leaves, there were to be no more Leaf Days), we invited our friends to share our scheme. Everyone raked and raked, the leaf blower was employed, and soon we had a leaf pile to rival all leaf piles.
We pushed, we pulled, we threw ourselves and each other into that leaf pile, giggling and cackling, howling madly, until we had dried leaves everywhere; even in places that are unmentionable in polite company.
Then we ate; gingerbread, applesauce cake and warm apple cider. We ate and we laughed, and we jumped some more.
On the Western Slope of Colorado, autumn is short, lasting a few brief weeks at the most, swallowed up in the first frosts of winter all too soon.
Here in Oregon, we've had beautiful Autumnal color clear until Thanksgiving, blessing us with colorful leaves and berries for our Holiday table.
Autumn is my favorite season for so many reasons, but the best are the warm memories shared with friends beside the evening fire, picking pumpkins from the field, a bonfire out back, or, Leaf Day; lone but glorious.
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