Autumn Memories From Autumn Leaves


Autumn, that delightful season filled with all things pumpkin spice, fuzzy sweaters and warm hues of rust and gold, is in full swing in Hicksville. Everywhere you look, you can see how summer has faded and folks have embraced the change from flip-flops to boots, tank tops to jackets and iced coffee to piping hot beverages. Hints of Halloween and Happy Harvest have decorated porches, front windows and walkways on every street. The weather has finally become receptive to the “passing of the guard,” so to speak, with blustery winds, gray skies against a bright sun and crisp air that holds the power to wake one up better than a cup of Starbucks.
I love it.

Albert Camus once said, “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
(CC BY-SA 2.0)

Autumn has always been one of my favorite seasons. While it’s a sad time when flip-flops are packed away and the pool is closed until next spring, when the weather becomes cooler, there’s a different energetic vibe in the air. It almost seems that with the onset of a new school year and the end of the hot weather, the feeling is like a fresh start, almost like “let’s return to our regularly scheduled programming,” if this makes any sense. Although spring is a time of “new beginnings” and summer is a “lazy, hazy time,” autumn brings about the harvest, a chill in the air and a lot less sun time. I’m not an October baby, but I certainly feel more energized and motivated when the cool weather kicks in.

As my husband and I drove down Woodbury Road earlier today, the sycamores stood at rapt attention along the thoroughfare. Their autumn attire reminded me of childhood, most especially because we had a sycamore out front at our Levittown home. Whenever the change occurred, Mom often spoke about the colors that sycamore leaves turned. She preferred the oranges and reds of maple trees, but since her favorite color is yellow, she was grateful for the way the leaves changed from bright green to deep golden. My sister and I loved that tree and often stood before it in deep admiration. The tree bark often peeled off in thin taupe sheets. My sister and I found the trunk in various stages of exfoliation and often “helped the tree along” by removing the bark that had delaminated but had not fallen off. Mom often yelled out to us, “The bark is the tree’s clothes, so stop picking it off!” Those were the times that my sister and I searched the ground for those pieces we had pulled off and attempted to stick them back on like pieces of a puzzle. We were never successful, but it was a fun “game” that kept us busy for at least an hour before dinner and enabled us to have a little fresh air after school.

As the autumn leaves scrape the ground like a thousand scritch-scratches along the pavement, my memories return to an autumn when my sister and I were new parents of our own infants. Swaddled in layers of blankets, we packed our children in their respective strollers and headed out for an evening stroll. The sun had long since set and the streetlights glowed a soft amber as we walked. As the wind picked up, the fallen leaves hurried to keep pace with us. Our children slept peacefully as we caught up with the goings-on of life. That walk holds a particularly fond place in my heart, not only because we bonded as new moms but because we both adore the fall and thoroughly enjoyed that moment of togetherness.

Our home now reflects the season, where the automated air freshener pulses out a spicy cinnamon fragrance. Two pumpkins reside on our dining room table, one designated as our yearly jack-o-lantern while the other is earmarked exclusively for roasted pumpkin seeds. When the weather brings about bone-chilling rain, Hubby and I have designs on turning the closets from summer-wear to fall and winter fashions. While some may bemoan this yearly task, it fills me with excitement. After all, who doesn’t love a comfy, fuzzy sweater on a brisk autumn day?

Albert Camus once said, “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” As I have mentioned many times in previous columns, I am a tremendous fan of the changing of the seasons. As L.M. Montgomery perfectly captured in the novel, Anne of Green Gables, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” Not only am I grateful for Octobers, but Septembers and Novembers as well. May you all find some beauty in this season and may your autumn bring you gratitude for every fallen leaf.

Patty Servidio is an Anton Media Group columnist.

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