I love this season of change. The hues, almost a sonnet to the summer, a goodbye perhaps before slowly dropping to the ground below.
The sun itself seems to reflect back the orange burn that occurs just before the maple trees fire into their infamous reds. I am fascinated and awed by the natural progression of letting go.
I took the opportunity this afternoon to take a drive away from the noise of the city, to meander along the back roads that more brilliantly herald the onset of fall. While the city I live in is renowned for its trees, I find it difficult to enjoy the colorful hues as I traverse heavy traffic where all seem to be in a rush to miss them.
It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. For those not certain where Canada lies, we are to the right or the left of the United States. Our positioning is determined by what direction you are looking I suppose. Fact of the matter is that I truly don’t know what side we are on because I am rather useless with direction. There’s a large lake or two that separates us. I often want to stand at my side and wave. Having never been across the border at this time of year I often wonder if the maple trees grow over there too? Are your colors as incredible as our own?
Most years, by now, we might have a dusting of snow draped over our leaves, but this year has heralded warmer than average temperatures. I fully anticipate that will change in time for the Halloween candy haul (it generally does) bringing howls of displeasure as our youngest are forced to fit a Batman costume over a heavier jacket than had been hoped for, or find tears streaming over Snow White’s face as the tiara sits now cockeyed over the bulky toque (That’s Canadian slang for the heavy, woolly hat that children hate for the most part).
I enjoyed a peaceful few minutes on an open roadway before turning off at a favorite small town deli. I didn’t really need anything, but instead simply wished to partake in the aroma of fresh baked bread and apple pie. A gift to myself, I suppose, to just stand for a moment and let memories of childhood kitchens waft slowly past my nose. For the best visual just consider how a horses nostril flares as it smells the open meadow. Well, I hope mine didn’t flare quite as deeply, but you get the picture. I picked up two fresh-baked peanut butter cookies and wandered back out to the van to enjoy one with the coffee I had purchased as I left the city limits.
Continuing along my mini fall adventure, I turned to a quiet rural road and was met with the gentleness of golden cornfields on either side. I was grateful for this moment as I saw moving toward me the massive farm vehicles that would soon enter each field and reduce the natural maze to broken stalks within the week ahead. I was reminded just for a moment of the days as a child when I would run into the fields and hide beneath the large leaves. My mother would call me for dinner and I would always pretend to not hear as I watched the sun descend and dance over the silk of each ear.
As I drove back toward my home, I found myself back in the congestion of traffic on one of our prettiest streets. Our largest and most popular tourist park to my left was packed with late-day joggers, photographers, and children. Each tree bloomed a profusion of shades such that as they blurred together and I was reminded of a farmers market way back when, where bright tomatoes flanked blueberries and oranges flanked honeydew.
My reverie was interrupted by a flash of bright orange moving across the top of my window. Above the colorful trees I watched as the helicopter moved by in seemingly slow motion. I recognized it immediately as our trauma team and quietly blessed whomever they were transporting. The brilliance of the oranges surrounding me. The capture of the sunshine on the orange of the blades above me.
I was quick to understand the relationship between the two contrasts. A nudge, perhaps, to remind you all that autumn is a time to retreat from the chasing of sunshine. To put away your beach towels and your need to escape into the sands. To take refuge in the family time that the months ahead will provide you. To share warm drinks and lost memories. To make plans for the season of Santa, to decide who brings the turkey, and who brings the mash. To come together with family no matter the circumstance. Whether it be the end of the earth season or the end of the soul season. We are guided to fold ourselves inward as the leaves curl to protect the center seeds. To take the time to find our growth in each other.
My wishes to all of my Canadian family and friends for a Thanksgiving of gratitude and for the presence of one another. Gratitude for the change of seasons. And gratitude to the trees for the example that life goes forward even after the colors have dropped.
My American friends, give me a wave from your side of the water. I think we are looking at the same orange sun.