The forecast tells me that the highest temperature we’ll get to tomorrow is 50 degrees. Yep, must be getting close to winter. I don’t care about what equinoxes (equinoxi?) say–winter starts right around Thanskgiving. This is the time I start looking for snowflakes. We don’t get a lot of that in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, so I grasp for as much of it as I can.
A few weeks ago, I had a sublime moment of happiness that reminded me of what I loved most about autumn. The buildings where I work are surrounded by forest–giant oaks, elms, pines, and maples, mostly. I spend every non-drenching lunch break walking the paths outside, and before the rains came, I had some wonderful experiences.
One afternoon, out among the trees, I had the good fortune to be under a pin oak when a slight breeze blew a cascade of leaves down around me. I just stood still still and watched them fly around me, chasing each other like puppies unleashed. Some fell down without wasting any time, directly from tree to ground. Others flipped and swooped, taking their time getting to the floor of the woodland.
I walked further on, only because I was expected back at a certain time. The golden leaves of the elms and maples fell like bright rain, the sunlight glinting off their surfaces. Being who I am, I ran and tried to catch them as they fell, but the breeze I kicked up from my efforts blew them away from me. Still, it was fun to try.
The rest of the walk back was spent using every footstep to kick the fallen leaves into the air, giving them one more chance to take to the skies again, even if only for a moment. It was the singularly most satisfying day of my entire autumn.
Now the leaves lay brown and water-logged, forming a layer of squishy tiredness. It is time for winter, and the snows, to kick in. I’ll be the first one outside, kicking snowflakes and watching them swirl around me like restless puppies allowed off-leash.