Returning to Fall

How quickly we experience a change of heart.

Picture this: A late afternoon warmth settles temporarily into the mountains and up at Joe’s farm, I am hard at work turning soil to prepare for cover crops.

“It’s a lot easier to get work done here when you don’t have shirtless men around to distract me, Joe,” I say, and I mean it.

Joe smiles and jabs his pitchfork into the ground. “Where do you see those? Up at the craft school?”

“Come to think of it, yeah, up there too. But no Joe, I meant here. You’re killin’ me. You gotta keep them away!” Finally, he realizes my teasing.

“Oh you mean Riley. Right. Well, I think I took my shirt off twice this summer, and I’m sure I was sweating,” he says. His smile is wide from ear to ear underneath his trademark navy blue wool hat. He releases the pitchfork and takes another bite into the soil, grey hair flopping forward as he dips his head.

“Well, where was I!” I say, smiling now and we both laugh.

And just then, with two neighbors laughing, the wind picks up and it is quintessentially fall. The colors are not at their peak, but I almost prefer this mixture of lime green to yellow to orange to red. The way the light moves through the canopy and dances on the leaves invokes a sound of clinking glass or the soft sound of sticks tapping together. Of course, the light makes no sound, but this it what I feel when I see it. Like fairy dust falling, catching here and there, then falling again, twinkling its magical change along the way.

Sometimes I worry that I will have to decide between homes. That someday, somehow, I will have to choose between my big-mountain-evergreen-spacious back home and my soft-mountain-perfect-cabin life in this home. Whichever way I go, perhaps with the wind in the end, these things will always be for sure: mountains, a healthy river, friends that live close but not too close, gravel roads, sunlight, the feeling of seasons changing, the freedom to write, unlocked cabin doors, appreciation for things great and small.

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