veils the hillside canopy
in royal disarray
beneath a sky blurred teal and gray.
Life pillows soft beneath my feet,
then crunches out its vibrant angst.
Like so many others, I associate autumn with the colorful leaves. My family and I went hiking this afternoon at a local recreation area that has a 60-foot observation tower at the top of the tallest hill. I shouldn’t have been so surprised by the crowd of people waiting for their turn to climb the tower and gaze for miles over the near-peak fall colors of the surrounding landscape, but I was. All of the other times we’d been to this same spot over the last few years, it had been nearly abandoned; we had never needed to move to the side of the trail to let another group pass, and we had certainly never needed to wait for the crowd to leave the tower to take our turn to climb it. I think it just goes to show how certain sights will draw people to them.
Seeing the popularity of the fall colors made me think today of all the other times we seem to stop en masse and admire the view: the sunrise (or sunset) over an ocean, the first snowfall of the year, the rolling in of a storm front overhead. We are drawn to these moments, even if we don’t always voice it.
My husband has been laughing at me lately because I’ve apparently been commenting more often than usual about how beautiful the place around us is. We’re fortunate to live in a place where we’re surrounded by gently rolling hills, where we’re never too far from a forest or river, where we can see the nightly stars blazing in brilliant white against a pitch-black backdrop. I tease him right back because, of course, Western Wisconsin is the place he fell in love with first, despite being over 7,500 miles from where he was born.
I’ve been gaining my focus back, with my brain feeling less and less cloudy as I place more and more time between myself and cancer treatment. With more focus comes more time to dedicate solely to work and also more time to dedicate to my family and what I enjoy. Some days that means being out in nature; some days that means writing; some days, like today, I am very fortunate and have the chance to do both. With my newfound focus, I can’t help but feel appreciative, and I guess that means finding a little extra beauty this year in those emotional, ephemeral leaves.