anne mikolay 2012 120There's something about autumn that makes me wax nostalgic. The colors, the scents, the falling leaves, the round pumpkins...all carry me back to my little girl days when I had the time and inclination to simply sit and ponder.

And ponder I did!

I questioned why squirrels never tired of scurrying about, gathering nuts for the upcoming winter. I mistakenly thought the critters lived inside trees and wondered about the furnishings of their little homes. During an autumn rain, I wondered if birds abandoned their nests in favor of more protective shelter. I marveled at the vibrant color of the falling leaves and attempted to duplicate its brilliance with my Crayola crayons. I challenged the logic in my trick-or-treating when my mother had a stash of my favorite candies all ready to be given out to neighborhood kids. I contemplated weighty issues, like why art class wasn't longer to accommodate autumn's endless inspiration, or why all houses didn't have fireplace chimneys to release the homey scent of burning wood into the autumn night air. Why didn't schools close on Halloween, or at least forbid teachers from assigning homework on such an important holiday? Why didn't darkness fall just a little bit later so I could play outside longer? Why did my father rake away the pretty blanket of leaves on the lawn? Why didn't autumn last more than three months? And would I always love autumn so?

The answer to that question is yes. Though I am far beyond the age of trick-or-treating or believing squirrels set up households inside tree trunks, I still appreciate the magic in the season. Corny? Of course, but as the daughter of parents who taught me to marvel at nature's wonders, and as a mother who passed that gift on to my sons, I unabashedly reserve the right to corny nostalgia. I will always remember walking to the creek with my father on crisp autumn evenings, holding his hand and chatting my little heart out to the most attentive listener in the world. I will always recall helping my mother stuff little baggies with candy for trick-or-treaters and begging her to let me eat some of the candy kisses. I will never forget pumpkin picking and riding the hay-wagon with my boys, making their Halloween costumes, and teaching them to craft spooky ghosts out of white trash bags later suspended from the trees in our driveway. Indeed, autumn holds many, many memories.

Thus, when autumn speaks, I listen. Always did. Always will.