Crackly-crunchy time!

For a little while there it looked like we were going to skip autumn altogether and head straight into winter. I’m glad to say that didn’t happen, and we’re getting a multi-week stretch of crisp, clear days full of bold, earthy tones beneath a blue sky. Mornings are cold, and I’m glad of my new winter jacket, but the days are idyllic.

My boys have discovered the joys of frisbee, and during my vacation last week we spent a fair amount of time out in the front yard tossing the disc around. Every so often it would crash through the branches of the maple tree, releasing an assault force of spinning seeds and the occasional variegated leaf. It’s a time to be outdoors, to savor every last moment of hospitable weather before we begin the long, slushy slog through winter. I even spent half the day Saturday outside cleaning windows just to have an excuse.

Friday we took a hike up the canyon to one of our favorite spots. From the valley it looks like the colors are already starting to fade, but up close it’s another story. The wild scrub oak is all a uniform, uninteresting brown, but many of the trees are still sporting a day-glo orange-pink that would have looked garish if duplicated in any man-made way. I only took our small point-n-shoot camera and vowed not to slow the family down with excessive picture-taking this time, but I couldn’t keep my promise. Such colors must be captured.

Fall is my favorite time of year, and I’m thrilled to actually get one this year. It was more a quirk of poor planning than inspired design that made me take a week of use-it-or-lose-it vacation in the middle of October, but I’m glad I did. The memories of this past week may help me endure the coming winter just a little better. Mother Nature can put on a pre-bedtime show to rival anything the Von Trapp family ever cooked up.

I’m giving this autumn a two-thumbs-up. Way up.

Autumn fireworks

Bell Canyon

Dry Creek

Reflections on a reservoir

Kodachrome carpet

Island of calm

Descent into civilization

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