On this first day of autumn 2014

Beautiful Autumn Day Watercolor by Cortney North
I believe there is a strong argument being made by the autumn season as to its status in my life: It is saying “I am the best, thank you very much.” It has been pulling out all the stops too. On Sunday, I sat outside at the backyard patio table and just absorbed what the season had to offer.

There was the sky: Near the horizon, the blue is a turquoise cerulean hue that can only be rivaled in the most tropical locations. As my eye moves upwards into the places where eagles and vultures soar in the thermals, the blue was a brilliant cobalt. This color can only be seen on my painter’s palette; this is the only other time I’ve seen such a blue. Combining the two hues together on one canvas is almost more than this lover of blue can take.

The wind blows through the trees. I say to my husband, “Don’t you love the breeze.” He replies, “It’s not so much a breeze as a crashing gale.” Yes. I couldn’t have said it better myself. The wind crashes against the trees. You can hear it coming before you see it. The leaves are being thrown into one another, which creates that classic sound of autumn. I could probably recreate the noise if I were to rake up a bundle of leaves and plow through the pile. Even then, it may not be loud enough.

Once the wind has made its way to our unsuspecting table, we batten down. I grab my note pad and wait for the sheets to stop fluttering. I look up and see a flurry of yellow leaves flowing sideways across the yard, some flying up into the cobalt sky. The birch trees in our side yard are quick to give up their golden jewels and yield them to the gale. The scene reminds me of the furious snowstorms that whip flakes of white dust across the snowy tundra. It feels just as dramatic with the wind, the sounds, but this autumn windstorm has the added benefit of striking color. The flakes of yellow set against a background of orange, hunter green and crimson. It is a magnificent show.

The wind dies down and the trees are able to breath a sigh of relief. They stop quivering and the blue jays begin their triumphant calling again. The downy woodpeckers have also returned, searching for the suet they know will be arriving any day. Before then, then do me a service and try to rid the nearby trees of bugs. The winter temperatures will take care of that particular problem, but why not let the woodpeckers have their fun too? The squirrels, who are more sedate during the summer’s heat are now scurrying and playful; they chase one another without a care in the world. Tumbling, climbing and clucking in annoyance, their antics are enough to bring a long smile to my face.

Then the squirrels stop. The blue jays are silenced. The sound is coming back through the trees. I look up in curiosity and can hear what they sense. The wind is at it again. Far off trees are waving back and forth. Their loose leaves are pluming above. The next set of trees are sent writhing. The birds at the feeder scatter as if needing protection from the next gust. I, once again, protectively place a hand over my notebook, as if there was any chance of writing on such an entertaining day. The wind reaches our cheeks and gives us a cool kiss. Our hair is thrown and the nearby grasses quiver with delight. More leaves are strewn across the beautiful palette. Just as quickly as the cool embrace comes upon us, it leaves. The birds resume their calls. the woodpeckers resume their search. The squirrels resume their playing. I laugh as one somersaults into the other.

Yes, autumn is truly making it difficult to declare summer my favorite season and hopefully it will keep trying for many more days. I may yet be convinced.