Ever since I can remember Fall has been my favorite time of year. It starts in late Summer with the crisp inviting smell of loose leaf paper and the promise of another school year punctuated with shiny new school supplies. Then NFL football makes its presence known and we ask ourselves how did we ever manage so long on Sundays without it? Slowly but surely darkness creeps closer to dinner time instead of bedtime. That extra blanket sure feels good wrapped around you at night, doesn’t it? And those smells of dinner slow roasting in the oven versus being cooked on the grill. They all create an aura of Fall and home sweet home. These traditions, memories and experiences help to make Fall that very special time of year. But perhaps the best aspect of Fall is experiencing nature’s way of ushering in Winter with palates of color that warm the heart and soothe the soul.
There have already been so many lessons learned during my recuperation from spinal surgery, some by necessity and some merely by chance. Part of my ongoing physical therapy is to take daily walks and increase the distance I walk as my body allows. I am forced to be outside and walk my neighborhood every single day. At first it was a matter of can I do this, how am I feeling, can I go any further, and watch my step. But I can tell you that gets really old after a while. Next you start thinking about how to relieve the boredom of walking in an area that’s all too familiar, the same streets, houses, cul de sacs, and park. I know I have to do this, but I sure wish the scenery was more spectacular. Then yesterday I realized I could not see the forest for the trees. Stop and smell the roses, Jan. Take a good long hard look at what is right there in front of you.
And so I did. It almost had to slap me in the face before I noticed it. But once it did, my eyes opened as if for the first time. It came upon me so fast it almost took my breath away. What was I thinking? Here I was longing for spectacular scenery when I was already in the midst of an unfolding story of colors, lights, sounds and smells. I was just too busy to notice. But I’m seeing it now. Time to explore.
I’ve always loved the ways leaves turn into an array of colors at this time of year, but never really thought about how they compliment the color of the sky or create a palate of complimentary hues that offset each other in perfect symmetry. The greens, yellow, browns, reds, pinks, purples all bathed in a backdrop of a clear blue sky is sheer and utter magnificence! The artistry of nature is at its best in the Fall and right there for all to enjoy if you take the time to notice it.
Looking around you can also see the last vestiges of Summer, annuals that look slightly worse for wear but still proudly standing like old soldiers not wanting to let go of the glory of bygone days.
And lets not forget the first big holiday of the season is around the corner and that, in itself, brings an array of creativity to lawns and porches. Traditional decorations, spooky creatures and deflated balloons awaiting darkness and air compressors to come alive all dot the streets in a festive display of Halloween magic.
There is a wealth of spiders, cobwebs, ghosts and goblins scattered in trees, lawns and on porches all in the spirit of the season. They bask in the sunshine during the day suspended in time and space but come alive at night to roam the neighborhood in search of the faint of heart. I could feel there eyes follow me as I walked among them but they would not break their code of silence. Only in darkness do they flourish. They seemed to be challenging me to come back, at their time and on their terms. But for now they lie in wait for the sun to go down hoping I will have the courage to return and meet them once again under the veil of darkness.
And as I took all of it in I realized once again how little time I spend stopping to smell the roses. Today I saw my neighborhood in a whole new light, bathed in autumn beauty and the anticipation of Halloween. I smiled at every decoration, every tree, every pile of leaves waiting to be enveloped with children sitting in their midst and throwing them wildly into the air. I reveled in the fallen leaves crunching under my feet and took in the smells, sights, sounds and colors of October. I almost missed it. It’s so amazing. And yes, there is no doubt in my mind now, my favorite color is October.