Autumn is my season of pure organic joy, and the ability to recognize this no matter where I find it or who shares it with me, is a priceless gift.
Everything and everybody has their season, a time when the purest organic joy that life embodies seems to peak. Autumn is my season for pure organic joy. It is not the only time I stop to reflect and be grateful, but life itself is most vivid for me during autumn. I am a November baby, so maybe that has something to do with it. I really think though, that I am a person who is just super in-tune with her senses. It's harvest. Everything is amplified. Bright colors on trees and shrubs and late blooming flowers. Fluctuations in temperature from morning until night, likened to the tides ebb and flow.
Autumn for me isn't always smells and tastes, or even how things look. It's all things audible and tangible, too. It can be the sound of crows on a inert morning, calling to one another as they rifle through felled corn stalks. It's also the way fallen tree leaves, wet from the cold nights condensation, feel slippery beneath my feet. Then there is the softness between my fingertips of silken milkweed parachutes. Each singular tiny seed waits to be carried off by the wind to miraculously plant another.
Our senses are the keys to our fondest memories.
I longingly recall fall days while growing up in Basking Ridge. Pumpkin selecting day at Wightman's Farm is at the top of that list of memories. A trip to Wightman's didn't just mean selecting a Halloween pumpkin. It was also about fresh apple cider and warm sugared cider doughnuts. My brother David always seemed to have final say in which pumpkin made its way to the scale. I think it's because my Mother knew he would cry if we came home with anything other than his selection. It never mattered much to me, as I was usually more excited to get to the pumpkin carving, a task at which I considered myself an expert.
Other fond moments include harvesting the last of the season’s grapes and tomatoes. The smells from our kitchen were amazing when my Mother would toll over the Concords making small batches of grape jelly. She would both stew and sauce the tomatoes. To this day, I think Heaven has to involve grapes and tomatoes and the aroma they give when being juiced.
Fall was also about helping our Dad rake the highest leaf pile possible. Then we would wreck it by getting a running head start and throw ourselves atop the pile. The leaves were itchy on the back of my neck. They always seemed to shimmy down the back of my coat and under my shirt. Heavier wet leaves glued themselves to every other surface of me. It was messy fun.
Family, neighbors, and friends are our guides through this lifetime.
It is the season of friends and family, too. Babs Wilson used to take my hand on walks through Farmer Joe's field. It was connected to ours where the towering cherry tree met the hollowed out apple. There we'd walk past mounds of purple Asters and I would try to leap over the long shadows cast by the trees like a horse during a steeplechase. Visits to my grandparents’ house meant walks to the river with my grandfather and his dog, Pooch. Grandma's house also meant the rife odor of Osage oranges that had dropped to the ground and fallen victim to the blades of the lawnmower.
Autumn is the season of endings. There is beauty in endings, just as there is beauty in beginnings. Both, regardless of stage, are fragile. There is beauty in the change of seasons, and there is beauty in death. It needs to be acknowledged for what it is, and what follows it. Spring is the assured rebirth after a long winter’s mourning cloak is shed. This is life. It is a circle that repeats, and in this loop, so are we affixed, hardship and happiness all at the same time. Autumn is my season of pure organic joy. It is is all of these things for me, and I am grateful to my Creator every day for these experiences. I am grateful for my Mom, Dad and brother David. The little house on Madisonville Road in which I grew up is something for which I am especially grateful. I am grateful for meaningful neighbors and friends, and the ability to recognize pure organic joy in my life, no matter where I find it or who shares it with me.