In the coolness of an Autumn morning I love nothing better than to take a drive down to the Delaware Water Gap and hit the mountain hiking trails. There is something about the feel, and the smell, of the crisp clean air of the mountains in the fall that seems to invigorate me, and makes me remember my younger days. Kind of the way a song can bring you back to a special moment in your life. The trails are covered in fallen leaves and the sound it makes while walking through them reminds me of when I was a child, and my brother and I would have to rake up the leaves with dad. We would make huge piles, and then giggling and laughing would jump into them. I can still hear my dad half - heartedly yelling at us, " Come on boys, your just making more work ". I recall the multitude of squirrels running all over the yard gathering up all the acorns from the giant oak tree we had next to the house, and then burying them all over the backyard. I can still hear their little feet as they ran over our roof which they used as a halfway point between trees.
I remember also the sound of rustling leaves as I walked from house to house on Halloween all those years ago. I remember the excitement of getting candy, or in rare cases a nickel or a dime. ( Yes that was a long time ago !) My friends and I would change our costumes and go back to the houses that gave out the best treats. O'k maybe that is a little shady but we were kids ! I remember that the Bronson Funeral home instead of giving out candy, or money, would give out a cup of hot apple cider, and a doughnut. We always saved that as our last stop, it was just that good !
I love the kaleidoscope of colors that the mountain forest offers up at this time of year. Yellows, reds, oranges, and different shades of brown all mingle with the trees that are evergreen. When you add to this a powder blue sky with some white puffy clouds, you have a sight that is as beautiful as any painting by Van Gogh or Monet. I remember one such scene years ago when I was just a young man. My friend Mark and I camped on top of Mt. Noonmark, in the High Peaks Region of the Adirondaks. We spent a windy chilly night on top of that majestic little mountain. I remember trying to pepper my food and the wind blowing it sideways ! I recall sitting there that night with a hot cup of cocoa, and watching the stars as they marched across the sky. It was so clear ! It was so vivid ! It was marvellous ! The next morning we awoke before dawn, made coffee, and waited for the sunrise. And what a sunrise it was ! The sky was an orangey red, over the fall colored mountain tops, and the valley was completely covered in fog. It looked as though someone had filled the entire valley with white cotton candy. It was a sight I will never forget !
I remember driving around Vermont, and New Hampshire with my friend Kay looking for covered bridges. This was before GPS, and all we had were folded maps, and all the time in the world. Time seems to almost slow down on days like these which is why I think the memories stay with us so vividly. I think we had almost as much fun looking for the covered bridges, as we did photographing them when we found them. There is something very special about an old covered bridge, with fall colors in the background. If you open up your mind to the past you can allow yourself to be transported back to a simpler time when horse drawn carriages would rumble over these bridges on their way to town on a cool Sunday afternoon.
This Autumn, even at my advanced age, I will trek back into the the mountains and follow these leaf covered trails back to the memories that I hold in my mind and in my heart. Mother Nature is the most beautiful of women, and like a woman She has a different look, and feel, for each season. I recommend to everyone, of all ages, to go out and see Her this Autumn, and make your own memories. I promise you that you will not be disappointed ! And remember that life isn't just about religion, or any one thing, life is like a many faceted diamond. Don't confine yourself to just one side of that diamond of life ! Experience each and everything that the Gods and Goddesses have put here for us to partake in. It is a wonderful way of enjoying yourself and honoring the Gods and Goddesses !
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !