follow the yellow leaf road
Oh summer, you circus of sensory pleasures! For months the land is blindingly green; bright blossoms flag down honeybees; and our fleece jackets sit on indoor hooks looking sort of archaic while we imbibe sunshine like Charlie Sheen on a bender.
And then, one day, there’s this.
And it’s a clever trick, this last flare up such epic gorgeousness, it’s like taking Rose to the all-you-can-eat mac and cheese bar before breaking the news that it’s kale salad for the next 5 months.
We took the kids on our annual fall trip, clearing everything off the calendar for this one day, and you could almost hear the clunk of work and deadlines thudding to the floor.
Frisbee at Lizard Head Pass, elevation 10,222 ft. We keep forgetting to put a 1st aid kit in the car, but we do always have a frisbee.
Rose whispered to me, after we jumped over a mud puddle 19 times: I want to make a card for Daddy that says, “Sometimes you’re so nice I don’t know what to say.”
Dan is so happy here. He practically floated out of the car, singing, “this is the land of elk and honey. And also perhaps, a bunny!”
As we walked through the aspen groves, I had one of those moments where the world shrinks to a spotlight illuminating this one day, and I’m present enough to realize that right now, everything is good in a simple and straightforward way. Our family unit is still an uncontested force that everyone believes in. The kids’ smiles are free of any real heartbreak. In a contest between “looking good” and “having fun,” there is no contest: Col delves straight into the mud puddles soon as he’s sprung from the car. Rose is both old enough to hike a good distance, but young enough to turn to me and say, “can you hold my hat while I run like a pony?”
Rose may or may not have kissed our bag of goodies (from the ABC bakery in Mancos) when we stopped for a snack.
I kept focusing my camera in on something—like the yellow leaf ornaments decorating christmasy spruce trees—and not actually snapping a picture, realizing I just wanted to see it again, to mark it in my memory before everything changes. Which is exactly how I feel about our family right now. Here we are, still belonging sweetly to each other before the bigger world, appropriately, begins to lure the kids away.
There is nothing that makes a sky bluer than yellow leaves…or nothing that makes leaves yellower than a blue sky.
Our favorite little wild hot springs.
Col decided on his own that he’s growing his hair out. And as much as I keep wanting to “neaten it up,” I like even more that he gets to choose (choice is: no neatening, Mama!)
After a dinner of burgers, fries and milkshakes, the kids fell asleep on the way home, evoking all the sweetness and innocence that rises to the top of sleeping children everywhere. Dan and I did a lot of happy sighing, acknowledging that winter is the Next Thing Coming, and that’s okay. I’m looking forward to the seasonal shift toward indoor creativity, and for the time, as Dan says, “to digest the big meal of summer.”