Monday, October 24, 2011

Awesome Autumn

     When you teach writing to kids, it's hard to not spend a lot of your own time "thinking like a writer." I only wish THEY would spend half as much time at it as I do!  .
     Last Friday we began something called "showing, not telling," whereby I am trying to get them to add details to their writing to allow the reader to FEEL what they are writing about, not just read ABOUT it.  Some of them  "get it" and some of them don't (and never will, I'm afraid).
     Saturday morning, when I got up to let the dogs out just before 6 am, and then again about 8-ish, I had the bold thought (I know, it's a big one, and before coffee, even) "It's Fall."  And then, like a writer, or rather, like a writing TEACHER, I thought to myself, "Really, Laurie? How do you KNOW that? SHOW me."
     In the summer, when I open that door to let the dogs out, the air is warm on my face, the sun halfway above the fence already.. Today, the air is not only much cooler, but it is crisp, crystally.  The air feels chill,  as though there were a frost last night, and the last of the icy crystals are just now evaporating into the feeble,distant, thin sunlight. The mist-covered sun, though, is just beginning to be visible through the trees, low to the horizon, behind the fence. It is rising, but it is not up high enough yet to actually spread any warmth. The trees by that back fence, a thick mass of green in the summer time, are now covered in  golds and russets and oranges,  leaves that still cling, tenaciously, to the uppermost branches, not shaken loose yet by the autumn winds that have passed through. Brown and yellow leaves litter the ground underneath, and rattle like skeleton bones as the dogs run over them, through them. The chill in the air has made the dogs quite frisky - three of the four of them chase, tumble and run past each other as they chase around and around the yard, while the fourth one, too old and achy in the joints in this crisp morning air, stands stiffly by my side, barking out her encouragement to the younger ones. I shiver, involuntarily, standing there in my thin tshirt and jeans, and wish the coffee was already done, wish I had a warm cup to wrap my hands around, tendrils of coffee steam spiraling upwards for me to inhale.. Breathing in that fresh, clear morning air, smelling the lingering scent of wood smoke, left over from last night's fire in the wood stove, feeling happy as a few geese in a straggly V formation honk noisily overhead, I realize that fall has come to New York.
      It's autumn here- colored leaves stand out brightly on the hillsides against their dark evergreen counterparts, crisp morning air greets you and lingers until mid morning at least, crunchy tart apples in bushel baskets beg to be eaten, the bright orange globes of pumpkins on front steps and the yellows, rusty golds and reds, purples, whites of fall mums in beds hold a beauty so singularly breathtaking it is hard to soak it all in. Fall is such a short season here, but a glorious one.
The view from my friend Holly's house; taken by Holly LaBenne

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