Changing Colors

Autumn is my favorite season.  Each year I look forward to the first day when the air gets a cold crispness.  A promise of wool, of vibrant leaves, of crackling fires, of warm drinks.  A hint of snow.

Even the word Autumn sounds warm and comforting.  Starting out soft, the sound after the first sip of coffee.  It ends warm percussive sound, like the final strike of a tympani.

Growing up in Michigan, October marked the month that Autumn rolled in.  Leaves changed colors and fell. Freckling the green grass with orange, reds, and yellows before they were raked into piles.  The first snow often arrived at the same time as carved pumpkins and candy bags.

In Virginia, Autumn waits for November.  It waits for turkeys, and preemptive holiday lights.  It waits until the costumes have been packed away.  Autumn is softer in Virginia, the trees have muted their colors. Some will never drop their leaves.

The sounds are different.  Autumn is not trumpeted in by the honks of geese on their seasonal commute.  Leaves don’t sound the same.  It sounds more like fabric flapping in the wind, rather than book pages rustling together.  Squirrels don’t chatter with such urgency to store that last nut.

The smell is different.  In Michigan there is a musk of the world bedding down before a blanket of snow tucks it in.  Virginia has a crispness and alertness.  The potential of sea borne storms.  The anticipation of frost, not of sleep.

It’s a fleeting season, but one I look forward to every year.

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