Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Autumn/Fall (08/27/09)
TITLE: Autumn of My Youth
By cathy nethercutt
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As I walk on an early autumn day, my mind returns to many similar days in my youth.
I liked the season particularly then. One could go barefoot still in midday, and yet the nights were cool enough to sleep. It was so much easier than in the hot, stuffy nights of summer when I laid with my head propped on the windowsill, pushed against the screen, trying to breathe in any coolness should the night decide to offer some. But, it was usually so humid the air did not move. It was much like trying to breathe in warm pudding. On an autumn night, though, the coolness allowed the air to just slide down into your lungs without effort.
I can close my eyes and see the vibrant colors of the leaves—the red maple, golden oak, and the orange and yellow that seemed to be on fire. I can see them float away singularly in the light breeze, like a belle’s handkerchief that the breeze takes as she’s waving goodbye to her beau. I see the deep, clear blue of the autumn sky and the sharp contrast of it where it touches the hills that are dressed in their autumn finery. I can smell the sweet, dusty odor of the sun-dried leaves after a rainy day. I remember the way the dry leaves seemed to scamper down the lane with the breeze and when it grew stronger they would whirl up and around and over each other as if playing a game of leapfrog.
I can almost hear the merry chatter of children walking home from one of their first few days of school. They seemed to be energized by the perfume of the autumn cool and a dusty road, and the school bell. If I walk with them in my memories, I can see how some of the boys will stop to chase a cricket, and others will quickly stuff their pockets with acorns in anticipation of ambush on the last few stragglers coming down the lane after them. The girls will skip along, raising dust and crunching leaves in time to the songs they sing as they go. Some of the children will stop with a friend as they come to a crossroad and have to part ways, bending to draw in the dust with a stick as they get in a few last words. Finally, they will stir the stick through their art, and throw it down and run off, suddenly energized to get home. Maybe it was the smell of apple pie cooling in the autumn air that lures them on.
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