Fall time is upon us. The brisk air, the shorter days, the changing and falling leaves. But not everywhere in the world is experiencing autumn. In fact, this is my second fall this year. I have been lucky enough to enjoy my favorite season twice in 2013. Being in the Southern Hemisphere for four months this year, I caught the second half of summer and the entirety of autumn in Argentina. For eight days of that, I enjoyed the breathtaking beauty of Patagonia's autumn in April. There is no more beautiful place to me than Patagonia, and to see it during fall time was a special experience I will never forget. As I sat at the above pictured view, I exclaimed aloud to myself, "This is the most beautiful place I have ever been!"
I'm sure most of you are mildly surprised to learn that summer is not my favorite season(though it is a very, very close second). As much as I love the sweltering heat and fun times of summer, there is a quality to autumn that strikes me to my core. I crave the outdoors more during fall, probably because I know that I need to get while the getting's good, before winter hits(eeeek!). I often take long bike rides in the afternoon after a lazy morning, allowing the temps to warm enough, and I go to places where the colors and the serenity will be pristine. The transitory nature of autumn drives me to soak up every possible second of this magical time of year.
The shorter days come with another benefit of autumn time, the angle of the sunlight. I love the angle of the sunlight in fall. It seems to cast a sentimental glow about everything, warm and cool all at the same time, accenting the already intense tones of the trees. It becomes obvious each day that the sun is creeping further and further south in the Northern Hemisphere and further and further north in the Southern Hemisphere; as the leaves change, the sunlight seems to make them even more red, yellow and orange.
Taking walks or hiking in autumn has a special "crunch" to it as the dried and fallen leaves litter every possible nook. I crunched lots of leaves in Buenos Aires, many along the trails like this one in Patagonia, and as I've been making my way through Capital Hill in Denver where I'm delighting in my second autumn. I love the sound of rustling leaves on the ground, and the fragrance they give off is unequaled, a mix of fresh and fallen. As I see the leaves on the ground, I look up to the trees to see just how much time is left in this fleeting season, hoping against hope that autumn lingers as long as possible in order to savor the unique elegance of trees taking a bow to cooler temperatures.
All in all, I've had two summers, two autumns and a half a winter this year. Call me crazy, but I can do entirely without spring. All I've ever known of spring time is inconsistent temperatures mixed with the occasional sloppy blizzard. Leaves budding on trees isn't nearly as stunning as when they decide it's too cold and show their final burst of life before weakening and falling. I have a special gratitude for my life this second autumn of 2013 as I realize that I'm living a life that brings me two autumns in the same year, one in Patagonian Andes, one in the majestic Colorado Rockies. And though I last experienced autumn only a few months ago, I am no less charmed by this one I'm currently in. Someday, when it's entirely up to me, and money is no object, my years will have two summers and two autumns.