It happened while we were sleeping. Sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning, fall arrived. I spent the entire week previous enjoying lunches outside in the warm sun, wearing short sleeves and flip-flops, rolling down the windows on the car, only to be so rudely dragged out of my summer bliss by a cold front that came whipping through the state just in time for the weekend. I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss summer, being that it's my favorite season and all. But fall has its perks too, especially in a climate such as ours. Apple orchard visits, cuddling up with a warm blanket, and buying new, comfy sweaters are just a few of the things I enjoy this time of year. Then, of course, there are the leaves. The golden yellow, deep orange, and flaming red leaves that appear on trees once limited to varying shades of green. This time of year, nature truly puts on a show.
There are always a couple of trees who get a head start on the leave changing season. They're the ones that are bright red in a sea of green weeks before their neighbors even think about donning a new look. These are the show-off trees; they like the attention. The "ooohs" and "ahhhs" of everyone realizing what is about to happen. And while the rest of the trees will change color gradually throughout the fall, it feels as though they were green one day and colorful the next. One day the landscape looks like summer and the next it has the unmistakable glow of autumn. There are plenty of fall colors to admire here in the city, but the best views are undoubtedly up north or down south. Lake Superior adds an exceptionally beautiful background to the golden trees, and a drive along the river bluffs on the way to Iowa is second to none in the fall.
The only bad thing about the leaves changing color is what happens afterwards. Sure, they'll give us a few weeks of breathtaking hues, but then, just as suddenly as they changed from green to gold, they will promptly fall down. Once this happens all we're left with is a bunch of empty trees and three (or four, or five, or...) months of a brutally cold winter. But weren't those few glorious weeks worth it? It's as if the trees sense the impending greyness of winter and decide to give us a huge send off; a final hurrah of color and brightness. And that's where we find ourselves now: in the final hurrah. Thank you, trees. We're enjoying every last minute of it.