When I think of the last leaves falling and the warm light of Autumn evenings chilling into the cold, grey fog of winter I feel a little homesick inside, already nostalgic for what we'll be missing.
(These images are completely unedited, not a saturation tweak or a contrast boost in the mix. Nature is impossibly brilliant! The beauty of this Fall has literally made me stop my car and unbuckle my children on more than one occasion to show them the beauty of a changing Autumn maple).
We did some leaf collecting last Monday afternoon when we picked Henry up from school. The street the school's on is lined with big, old trees, all ablaze with the most exquisite shades of warmth. We found reds and browns, greens and yellows and every shade between. Even some purple (!) The kids had fun hunting around for fallen leaves and pulling a few from the tree branches. I had fun slipping the most memorable ones carefully between the pages of my Norton Anthology when we got home. I love the changing seasons, each brings its own wonder, but my soul feels most at home with the Autumn.
Last Thursday I got to go to the Pumpkin Patch with Henry's class. That was such a treat. The pumpkin selection was underwhelming, but the corn maze was endless fun for the five-year-old, hide-and-seek-loving crowd. I tried really hard not to lose track of the little people I was in charge of - not an easy task in a dense maze of 6 ft. corn stalks! And I came home trying to persuade my dad to get some goats for their property because, um...I really loved the little goats that we got to pet and feed at the patch. I'm always trying to wheedle my parents into doing the dirty work so we can enjoy the charm of farm life. (oh...I am laughing about that. ha ha ha. you're laughing too, right mom?) My current obsession: securing an animal that can have babies! Seeing my children with a litter of puppies/kittens would just tip me over with joy.
And sometime in the last couple of weeks we had a really fun evening of card-making with Nana. She came over with all of her supplies - paper, punches, stamps and ink and we made 20 darling Halloween cards for Henry's classmates. (Confession: Nana did the lion's share of the work.) Thanks, Nana! I loved seeing my kitchen counters littered with red, orange, gold and brown paper scraps. And it was good to have our home filled with the joy of creativity - unfortunately, that's been lacking around here lately. The cards were completely darling with a nifty little cup of Autumn-colored M&M's sealed to the front; I am sad that I didn't take a picture. It has been so fun to enjoy the festivities of this season with family - a luxury we haven't known much in the past.
Fast forward to this week: we had a fire and roasted marshmallows in my parents backyard on Tuesday night. It was part of Henry's reward for turning in his Halloween candy. We (er, who am I kidding?) Nate brokered a deal with Henry. Henry exchanged his bean jar (beans collected for a year's worth of chores and good behavior) and his Halloween candy (minus ten pieces carefully chosen for his consumption) for some new Legos and a fun night of marshmallow roasting and ghost stories up at Mimi & Grandpa's. (The Family Fun Center was his first suggestion, but that place makes me twitch (and makes us poor!) so we nixed that idea and his next choice was a fire up at Mimi's. Done!) The candy trade was a smashing success. It is so nice not to be the candy police. Henry adores his Legos. And our night around the fire was seriously one of the best ever.
My dad told a spooky story about Steiner's Ghost - the boy-scout-eating, red-eyed albino cougar. While he spun his tale, we stealthily heated up a forked stick in the fire 'til it had two glowing coals at the end of each arm of the stick and then my mom slunk away from the fire and out into the yard with the smoldering stick. Just as my dad got to the climax of the story he said that the cougar had glowing, red eyes...just...like...THAT! (pointing to the "red eyes" in the yard) we all screamed and hooped and hollered trying to get a rise out of Henry. But he just stood there stoically, and looked at us like we were a bunch of loons (we were.)
The sky was cloudless and the stars were brilliant - all ten billion of them. We savored the perfect evening - chilly enough that the heat of the fire was welcome, but not so cold that your back side froze while your front side was warming.
There have, of course, been more substantial, less photograph-able things happening, too. (I know that you know that life isn't all marshmallows and pumpkin-carving, but I still feel the need to make this disclaimer). Tedious ruminations. Thoughtful discussions. A lot of studying (Nate) for a HUGE upcoming exam - and the accompanying relationship drought, which has been tough for me. But, in keeping with this Autumnal theme, I am turning over some new personal leaves. I'd like to tell you about some of it soon.
One thing now: I am seriously thinking about taking piano lessons again.