Three Saturdays prior, autumn arrived, my favorite time of the year. I awoke to rain, and the temperature hovering around 70. The higher temperature and humidity had finally broken, at least for a weekend.
Autumn here in central Texas lacks the vibrant and striking colors of my childhood in rural Minnesota. For the past several Octobers I have traveled to the Midwest for a conference of some type so as to view fall colors, but this year my schedule didn’t facilitate such a trip.
Even if my experience of autumn here is not the same as in my memories of autumn in other places I’ve lived (Oregon, South Dakota, and Ohio), I still have those memories, memories far beyond what I can count.
I cannot forget the sounds of dried colorful leaves beneath my bike tires as I ride home from school.
I cannot forget the feel of the rake handle–the tines against the grass–as I gathered leaves in the front or the back yard of my parent’s house.
I cannot forget the scrapes of rakes in other yards, the snapping of large plastic lawn bags.
I cannot forget the crisp night air as I shot baskets under the lights of South Park, three blocks from my house.
I cannot forget the feel of the metal bleachers beneath me as I sat with other pep-band members in the stands for home football games on Friday nights, my alto saxophone cold in my grip and waiting for a time out, for the end of a quarter, to make music.
I cannot forget the corn fields being harvested while I drove through the countryside.
I cannot forget walks on trails through state parks, leaves gathered in piles beneath the trees, a multicolored landscape.