Sitting in my rocking chair looking out the front windows, I notice the maple across the street is beginning to turn. Before long it will be orangy-yellow. The tall walnut beside our house will be pure gold, towering over our roof. A jewel-toned tapestry is what the oak will remind me of and the half dozen crepe myrtles will turn peachy-red. And then every single leaf will fall to the ground. Every one. Hard to imagine.
When we lived in Jacksonville, Florida folks took their vacations in the fall to go to Tennessee and "see the leaves turn". Since I'd grown up in Tennessee, I thought that was funny. Until I spent a couple falls in Florida. Then I found myself seeking out roads lined with sumac - basically a spindly weed, but which turns scarlet red in the fall. That was the height of my autumnal glory for a few years.
I love summer, but when the leaves begin to look tired and the flowers struggle to appear happy, I'm ready for everything to have a rest. For the trees to go out in a blaze of glory. For the zinnas and begonias to be put out of their leggy misery. For the sky to deepen to match the deep blue of September's birth stone. All signs it is time to say goodbye to summer.
Sometimes in the early darkening of the afternoons, I remember those days when I gathered my little ones inside as the leaves fell. Remember the laughter and red cheeks around the table, eager to share supper with mom and dad, brother and sister. Tales of their days at school or play winding down in cozy beds sheltered from brisk winds.
Lengthening shadows seem to lengthen my memories.