In the front yard of the house I best remember from childhood stood two large maple trees which enjoyed a breathtaking view of the Shenandoah Valley’s loveliest farm land. The gently rolling hills laced with crooked streams, and dotted with assorted trees, aging barns, fields planted with corn or alfalfa, cattle, sagging fences, and bluegill-filled ponds made for some particularly scenic seasons. The maples were taller then the up-most eave of the old white farmhouse and in storms the branches brushed against the windows above the porch.
Before leaving Virginia on my 3,000 mile journey to the great Northwest, I returned to gaze at the twin maples which saw me ride my bike without training wheels to the curve in the driveway where a dogwood grew and caught me out with the horses instead of doing chores. Those trees watched my parents’ marriage disintegrate, my mother’s sanity erode, and countless moments which my memory has thankfully erased. I could not leave Virginia without looking up through those leaves again and wondering where life would take me.
Afterwards, I felt renewed and equipped to tackle the next chapter in my life’s journey to self discovery and since that time, fall has always brought me back to that moment with the brightly colored leaves spinning above me, the rush of the wind moving the heavy branches, and the tickle of the Kentucky blue grass blades against my skin. Empowered by physical evidence that life moves steadily forward with or without us, I face new challenges with greater enthusiasm. Autumn seems to ignite that fire and drive in me.
What surprises await us on the other side of winter? As the leaves dance to the ground and the cloudshadows race across the land moved by a high and secret wind… one cannot help but wonder where we will be next fall and what trees will frame our views.
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