No other season brings to mind images of small towns, white church steeples nestled among red sugar maple, hayrides and jumping in leaf piles quite like fall. Crispy leaves that crunch under foot while out walking on moonlit nights just cold enough to see your breath. Breath it in, fall has a smell all it's own: dried leaves mixed with just the right amount of wetness and a bite of frost. Wood smoke and ripe apples. Dried hay and cornstalks. Never has decomposition smelled so comforting than on an autumn evening in New England.
Autumn is a glorious time in this part of the country. It's our crowning glory. The pretty girl, a few months older and a bit more mature, casting aside her summer glow and gauzy dresses of sea blue for a crown of red and orange leaves set upon her golden hair. Her coat a field of brown and green festooned with the bounty of the late harvest, stitched up with corn silk and orange gourd buttons. She is a sight to behold and people come from far and wide to take in her beauty.
When I was pregnant one of the things I looked forward to the most was sharing these experiences with my daughter. I've always had a love/love/hate relationship with fall. I love the traditions, I love the weather, but I hate that the lazy days of summer are coming to an end opening the door for old man winter. I hoped that having a little person around to educate on the finer points of fall would help alleviate the melancholy I was always left with once September arrived. So far I have not been disappointed.
Every weekend there is another destination. Another farm, another orchard, another stand by the side of the road where people snatch up brightly colored mums to pay homage to the glory of this season by decorating their front porches with the roundly shaped plants. There are festivals and street fairs, where we gorge ourselves on fudge and food on sticks, perusing the wares of local artisans and merchants. I buy a blue tile with a relief of a Labrador patiently sitting with tongue out, a dog belonging to the potter's neighbor so I'm told. My husband puts it up on our kitchen wall.
Then there's the fields of orange pumpkins. Round, fat pumpkins that will join the mums in their place of honor on front stoops. Or soon to become grinning jack-o-lanterns, their innards used for pies and the seeds toasted for snacking. Adults bring their children to pose amongst the tangerine moons or set their new babies down on a pile of the oddly shaped orbs, to take a picture of a sleeping pumpkin in the patch. My daughter finds a pumpkin that is just the right size and proudly carries it as long as her small arms will let her. She tries to pick up a much larger one, questioning the strange heft and covering herself in dry soil. Unable to lift the fruit that is as large as she is she happily toddles off in search of others to conquer.
The trees are full of ripe, red apples that we pick from the branches. Willing limbs that relinquish it's offspring because they have started to weigh the branch down. The tree knows when its time to let go. We eat enough apples to keep a million doctors away. Straight off the tree, rubbed on a pant leg to uncover a perfect shine. Baked in pies and crisps and covered with vanilla ice cream. Pressed into cider, sipped both cold and hot with mulling spices that fill the house with fragrance. The first taste of a caramel apple, the warm goo dripping onto our hands and covering our faces from chin to nose. And when our faces are wet with juice and sticky with sugar we share sweet, sweet kisses.
Pick a road, any road, and take a long, meandering drive at just the right time of season and you'll be rewarded with vibrant hues of orange and yellow that envelope the highways. The sky is no longer the outrageous azure as it was during the summer but instead a lighter aquamarine, as if acquiescing to the riot of flaming crimson. Why compete when you can compliment? I love our long drives in the fall when our only destination is another orchard almost an hour away that sells the most amazing apple cider doughnuts. We eat two each right out of the fryer, the crispy, sugary outer layer and soft interior making the greasy hands well worth it. Our little girl sitting in the pack on her father's back waits patiently with mouth wide open for her bite. We have to stop ourselves from buying too many and making ourselves look like gluttons, but apple cider doughnuts come but once a year. We buy more and enjoy them with our morning coffee, the ones that make it home that is.
No, I have not been disappointed with Autumn this year. It's hard to feel melancholy when sitting on the lawn of our favorite orchard and winery, sipping the cool liquid made from local fruit, watching my daughter maneuver the small hillside down to the steps of the public gazebo. She turns to see me but she can't since the sun is at my back. But I can see her. The light and the warm breeze playing with her hair. She holds onto her father's hand until she feels comfortable enough with her footing to let go. The apple of my eye. Sweeter than all the fruit in the orchard. She takes her father's hand again, not entirely ready to let go. His arm is strong and not worn down by her weight at all. We're not ready to let go, she's not ready let go. We'll have plenty more Autumns to celebrate together.
Bitacle Steals Content!
If you're not reading this on www.chickychickybaby.blogspot.com or a feed authorized by the author then you are viewing stolen content. Please read this on the site it was legally published on and not on a splog like Bitacle who steals other people's work for their financial gain.