Autumn is my favorite time

Moose Family

I hike up the ridge to my favorite overlook in the park and ease out close to the edge. I sit and dangle my right leg over the rock face and lean my back against a boulder. This has been my "chair" since I found this spot in early spring, and I've been coming here ever since. I adjust my hat to keep the sun out of my eyes and gaze out at the trees and the meadow below me, its expanse stretching out like a green, lush carpet. I spot the familiar herd of elk grazing by some bison and glance over at a nearby river to see how the beavers are getting along. They're as busy as ever.

Everything looks pretty much as it has all summer, but something feels different now. There's a change coming. If you know what to look for, you can already see it happening. And as you breathe in with your nose, you can smell it too. The crisper evening air mixed with pine and fallen leaves remind me of vanilla, cloves, and cinnamon sticks. And the damp, musty scent of the fallen leaves after a rain smells like... a box of chocolates. No, I'm not kidding. It smells like a box of chocolates. Really.

I put my head back against the boulder and close my eyes. My ears are suddenly full of the music the birds are singing. They seem a little more active now, getting ready for the season to come. The bull elk are making noise too. So loud now that it echoes through the valley like a wailing ghost. Which one will get the attention of the passing lady elk? If she's smart, she'll choose the quiet one. Who'd want to listen to that racket all winter long?

I open my eyes again and scan the meadow looking for moose. I love moose. I'm not sure why, but I'm drawn to them. I don't see the moose family just now, but fondly remember spring and watching the little ones, newly born into the world, trying to find their footing. I sat here like I am now, laughing as they tripped over themselves and when they chased butterflies and birds around. I watched them all summer as they grew into young adults. I miss those little ones now, with their awkward, joyful, and carefree ways, but they will have families of their own next spring. Something to look forward to for sure, and it makes me smile.

The leaves are beginning to turn here and there. You still have to hunt to find some. Soon, in the next couple of weeks, the trees will be multi-colored, like jewels in the Autumn sun. I love the way the Aspens look in the Fall. Their round leaves twirling and jiggling in the lightest breeze. They bring the landscape alive with movement. The grasses begin changing soon too, from lush green to a lovely yellow gold. A few will be fiery red, and still others a vivid orange. Their last expression of life before the snow blankets them to sleep.

I stand now and stretch my arms up to a cloudless sky. The sky will soon be filled with snow clouds, but we will have the Autumn rains to enjoy for a while first. I take one more look at the meadow, river, and my animal friends and wonder if I'll make it back here before the snow comes. I'm sure I will. As I make my way back down the trail, I see some squirrels gathering nuts and pinecones, another sign of Fall. I stop abruptly when I see the skunk walking several yards ahead of me. I'll just let him get to where he's going before I move on.

I reach down to my waist pack to get out my car keys, and damn, I left it up on the ridge, so a-back-tracking I go. There it is next to the boulder. I reach for it and put it on. I turn and look out over the meadow again, and there is the moose family! I smile. Now I'm glad I forgot my pack. 

Perhaps I'll just sit here for a while longer since I'm here already anyway. And besides, I didn't get to say a proper goodbye. The little ones are so big now, and quite beautiful. But I still see them as babies, chasing butterflies, falling on their butts, enjoying a lazy summer day with mama moose, in a meadow, someplace in Yellowstone, and being smiled at by a grateful hick in Wyoming. =]:)

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  1. Beautifully captured, both in image and spirit! Thank you for that moment of zen. A time to just 'be'. :)

    1. Thank you for visiting me here! I'm happy you enjoyed this post and a moment of Zen is a great description.

  2. Absolutely love this, Peter. Sounds like you have found the perfect spot. Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas!

    1. Thanks so much, Robin and Merry Christmas to you too!


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