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Changing Colors

By , Joliet, IL
The leaves have just turned yellow and orange. The forest is ablaze with color. Tall maple and oak trees line the path where I walk, crunching fallen leaves with every step. The fallen leaves have completely covered the ground and the first to fall are soggy and beginning to molt into the ground. The newly fallen are still dry and crunchy; stepping on them sends a thrilling chill up my body as the sound echoes through the quiet forest. All that can be heard is my crunching steps, distant laughter of my family and the wind whistling through the almost bare branches overhead.

The air is cold and crisp, and the freshness of it fills my lungs, leaving me wanting more. I inhale and smell fallen leaves and earth. Everything is so alive, colors are so vivid, and the cold breeze chaps my cheeks. The sky is a bright turquoise and not a cloud blocks my vision of the wide heavens.

The silence is disturbed with the gleeful cries of my younger sisters as they run to catch up with me. Windbreakers and sweatshirts are not worn in moderation as we are not used to this cold weather. I laugh at the girls’ antics and run after them to the small clearing not far ahead.

A large rope hangs from a large tree in the middle of the clearing and my sisters are arguing over whose turn it is to ride it first. Their faces are scrunched with indignation at each other’s remarks. This is when my older sister, Bethany steps into the clearing announcing that she will go first. That first ride is the last for the rope breaks and Beth is on the ground, laughing.

Going to that forest preserve was not an unusual thing for my family to do on Sunday afternoons on our second Stateside. Especially in September and October with the changing leaves it was our favorite place to be. We live in Mexico City and the seasons hardly change so the fall is a foreign thing to my sisters and I. Spending our Furlough in the Chicago area was incredible with its crazy weather changes and beautiful autumns. I would not have exchanged that time for anything else.

It has been two years since I have walked through that forest preserve with red and brown leaves crunching under my tennis shoes. But even with two years between that memorable day and now, I still remember vividly the way the sun glinted off of the golden and red trees and transformed a simple forest preserve in Illinois into Galadriel’s forest in Middle Earth from The Lord of the Rings. The cold wind rustling all those millions of leaves in the treetops and making them fall down, down, down, all the way to my feet where I walk over them with a satisfying crunch; music to my ears, all of that is unforgettable.

That forest did not just give me beauty; it was a place of discovery. It was where I first experimented with my camera and learned how difficult it is to truly capture the beauty and uniqueness of God’s creation. I learned what living in the moment meant. When I was walking with my family or alone under those trees, I never wanted to leave. Now, when I look back on those memories, I would give anything to be there again. That forest would speak to me and I spoke back. I knew its secrets. Imagination would come alive when I was in its presence.

Most people would ignore such a place and keep on driving until they reached the mall. Not I. I yearned to be there. Yearned to be in the wilderness where things were untouched by humans and so alive. Boulders and trees wanting to be climbed called out to my sisters and I. unexplored paths beckoned to us and we gladly obliged. That forest was our little kingdom and it contains many of my fondest memories of childhood. I long to be there, under those huge trees again. I wish to feel the cold October air on my face as I walk along the wooded path. I long to talk to the woods and hear it answer as it did before. I have a long time to wait, but someday, I will be there again.





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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

lovinglife said...
Nov. 20, 2011 at 8:13 pm
this is GREAT! I love the descriptions... "the crunching leaves are music to my ears" LOVE IT LOVE IT!
 
rosykatnip97 said...
Nov. 20, 2011 at 5:48 pm

awesome job, molly :) you captured those moments with incredible description and beauty. im glad i got to experience those times with you while they lasted. thanks for bringing back memories :)

 

 
justhere said...
Nov. 20, 2011 at 5:45 pm
great descriptions! i felt like i was there with you in the forest preserve. Fall is a magical season and also one of my favorites. nice job. :)
 
SheilaZyra said...
Nov. 20, 2011 at 4:49 pm
I always love your writing!=) 
 
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