Welcome, sweet ethereal fall
A self-portrait by the author.

Welcome, sweet ethereal fall

In my heart I’m an October sprite, in love with the colorful leaves and long, dark forest halls

PUTNEY — When the days get shorter and cooler in Vermont my green mountains turn to gold and everything slides into a moody Fairyland. It's almost as if summer slipped on a big colorful cape, but just beneath you can still see the beautiful green and the bumblebees sleepily trying to collect the last drops from the fading flowers.

I'm wild about the summer with its long days in the happy heat with the birds singing whole choirs of songs at 4:30 every morning. Part of me can't help but to feel a little twinge when I see that it's moving away now.

The geese in from Canada and the crows in the wood have replaced the little yellow and blue birds. And the sun doesn't peek drowsily over the fog until 6 or 7 now, and it's much harder for me to roll out from under the soft covers in the frosty mornings.

But in my heart I'm an October sprite, in love with the colorful leaves and long, dark forest halls.

I love when the wind comes up and pulls the faded yellow maple leaves down to me in their soft, lilting, floaty way. At night, the stars burn like the neighbors' wood stove, and I stay out looking up into the galaxy for as long as I can before the warm glow of the house pulls me inside.

* * *

Autumn is such an atmospheric time - it's as if everyone and everything in the world becomes an introvert in October, curled up in cozy sheets dreaming poetry and drinking cider laced with cinnamon and cloves.

I get wild-eyed for the romance of the fall and winter. Everything is revealed at its essence; the evergreens and the snowy cross-country trails stand out as the landscape becomes hushed and withdrawn. But my spirit sings to be set loose in those quiet, seemingly empty hours.

I long more than ever to be one and the same with the natural world. The summer is so bright and so yellow and blue, full of simple magic and long afternoons in the sun watching the river spill by our toes. But the fall calls me right in close; it's as if the whole land has become a giant mossy dark nest that I can hide in to watch the barred owl go by overhead and the deer come to pick crab apples off the low trees.

I feel like my eyes can't drink in enough of the colors and my lungs can't hold enough fresh, cool air.

I wish I could pay attention to each tree for a whole day as it burns gold and fox orange and then deep crimson red.

I want to be in the birch trees, with their golden arms by the water. In the tall grass under the maple all at once. At the farmers' market, with hot tea in my hands and men and women playing fiddle and guitar by the picnic benches.

I want to be everywhere at once, as if I am the fall and I'm coating everything inch by inch in richness.

But I'll settle with going to where the golden apples are hiding on a dusty lane, and I'll hold the hand of the bending tree limbs as I go by. Everything needs to be comforted with beauty in the fall, since the summer has to go and visit with New Zealand and other faraway lands that have been missing their big yellow sun and watermelons and days lounging by the sea.

* * *

I'll hold on to the fall and then the winter and love every aspen and snowflake until the ice melts and the crocuses pop up out of the sleepy ground again. I'm so happy to have the gentle autumn with its gathering-in and its horizontal light and mysterious afternoons.

Every inch of life is saturated with beautifulness. Summer bows to fall and the fall twirls in her long dress and becomes the snowstorm at Christmas and the frozen Narnian forest until spring bursts into bloom again for us. I feel sometimes that I'm made of every season and whenever the weather changes a different part of me comes out to play.

So welcome sweet ethereal fall, full of pumpkins and bumps in the night and facing the end of a chapter in the loveliest, most gentle way imaginable; full of new life right at the end, full of laughs and facing fears and treasuring life's most wonderful simple pleasures.

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