As I step out my front door, I notice a stillness in the air as changes gradually make their appearance throughout God’s glorious creation. The melodic serenade of robins and finches has grown silent and has been replaced by an occasional crow proclaiming its arrival with a loud “caw, caw, caw.” Frogs announcing the impending arrival of spring with an uproarious “ribbet, ribbet, ribbet” as they beckon their would-be mates, has given way to the soothing gentle chirp of crickets that halts abruptly as a perceived intruder passes nearby. Furry winter coats are beginning to make an appearance on dogs, ducks and geese are flying south, spiders are making their way into crevices both inside and outside my house, and leaves on the trees are beginning to yield to changes all around. Winter rain has been an absent companion but is soon to return in its fullness. There is a sense of urgency to complete warm weather tasks and prepare for winter, and outside it has grown still and quiet as if to prepare for some unknown grand entrance.

Fall is here… a bittersweet time of year. The daytime high is still in the 70’s-80’s, but cool evenings followed by brisk mornings betray the illusion of warm sunny days and thoughts of endless sunshine. Summer drifting into fall is filled with playing, gardening, and relaxing in a warm breeze that tickles my face and is about to bow to the entrance of “Old Man Winter.” It is a spectacular production. As days grow shorter and the air turns cool and crisp, a palette of ever changing colors build to reveal a masterpiece that includes dark lush evergreens tucked in between blazing oranges, intense yellows, and the occasional fiery red of deciduous trees. Then, just as the painting achieves its zenith of jeweled tones the first winter storm blows through and undoes the masterpiece, but not before we get to enjoy the final performance of “Dancing Leaves.”

The closing act of fall is what I affectionately refer to as “Dancing Leaves.” It is my favorite time of year. As I drive down a familiar country road through tunnels made of arched tree branches, I am surrounded by a flurry of fall leaves that swirl around me as they rise and fall to catch the wind that nudges them along. Once the colorful dancers float to their resting place, they are poised and ready for their next aerial performance. Over and over again the leaves burst forth to whirl around until they are spent, or the rains of winter anchor them to the ground.

As I acquiesce to the departure of summer I am able to embrace autumn. I savor watching the leaves blowing and twirling every which way, the aroma of an outdoor fire with its earthy smell as it consumes yard debris, misshapen and crumpled leaves crunching and breaking under my shoes, and the plop, plop, plop of over-sized boots trudging over soggy lawn while dodging mole hills. Fuzzy gloves reappear from the back of my closet along with a warm coat, hat, and scarf. I savor opportunities for strolling in the brisk fall air while sipping a warm pumpkin coffee. Fall is a smorgasbord for the senses and in its own unique way is a celebration of life as it bows to the passing of summer and ushers in the fullness of winter. I love autumn.