Ode to Autumn

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I have always loved all four seasons,

They each have their beautiful reasons.

But one stands out above them all,

My favorite and glorious fall.

 

Winter is biting and cold,

Hiding everything in its frosty hold.

Although a snowflake is magical to behold,

Its novelty soon becomes old.

 

Spring is a well of showers,

Followed by beautiful flowers;

But the pollen falls in powders,

Making me rue the spring hours.

 

Summer is golden and bright,

The sun setting with a glowing light.

Although it may seem just right,

After a while I long for the heat to take flight.

 

The autumn sky is clear and blue,

And the grass is damp with dew.

The trees know their cue

And begin to change their leaves anew.

 

I love winter’s sparkling white

And spring’s colorful delight.

I am warmed by summer’s golden light,

But I am exhilarated by autumn’s sight.

 

I have always loved all four seasons,

They each have their beautiful reasons.

But one stands out above them all,

My favorite and glorious fall.

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The Month of Change

When September comes around, with schools starting and autumn just around the corner, I can’t help but think about all of my Septembers as a TCK. Obviously the first thoughts that come to mind are all those times I was a new kid – like I mentioned in an earlier post. But then there are all sorts of other things that September was synonymous with, and I thought I would share some here…

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Lazy summer days roll into cool autumn nights,

As flocks of birds begin their migrating flights.

 

Notebooks, pens, pencils and other school supplies

Line the shelves all along the supermarket aisles.

 

Excitement, trepidation, laughter and tears…

Depending on whether the new year means facing friends or fears.

 

Leaves changing on the trees,

Fluttering in the early autumn breeze.

 

Red, orange, yellow and gold,

With autumn officially taking hold.

 

September is a month of change, of beginnings and ends,

In school, seasons and friends.

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A Tale of Two Seasons

Snow still covers the ground,

As the first day of spring comes around.

The skies are gloomy and overcast,

As we hope that spring has arrived at last.

 

Could it be the voices of the larks,

Happily chirping throughout the parks?

Could it be the gentler, softer breeze,

That replaces winter’s cold and biting sneeze?

 

Could it be the glimpse of blue sky,

That beneath those gray clouds we spy?

Could it be the sun’s bright and golden light,

So welcome after winter’s fading white?

 

Snow still covers the ground,

As we wait for spring to truly come around.

The skies are gloomy and overcast,

As we wait for some sign that spring will last.

 

The first day of spring has come and gone,

Leaving us with hope that winter will soon move on.

 

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Spring, Spring, Spring!

It’s been a weird year for seasons so far. The winter was mild, too mild almost, that it hardly appeared to be winter. Then spring arrived very early and almost immediately morphed into summer, with record high temperatures. We’re not even done with March! I know March has the saying “in like a lion, out like a lamb”, but this is a bit much, isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, I do love summer weather, but when it’s summer!* I love every single season, which is why I’m happiest when living in temperate climates. Skipping over seasons isn’t something I’m thrilled about.

It’s true that last winter was an overload of snow and cold, with several records being broken, but I still had mixed feelings about this year’s extremely mild winter. Although I didn’t want as much snow as last year and I was significantly stressed out at the idea of driving in the snow, I missed all that sparkling white beauty, I really did. I missed bundling up in warm coats, scarves, gloves and hats. I missed drinking hot chocolate regularly. I missed the cold air stinging my face, flushing my cheeks and reinvigorating me. Oh, I know these summer temperatures won’t last and it will get cooler again (which indeed it has), but I think winter has begun its long slumber and spring has awoken.

As much as I would have liked a more ‘conventional’ winter, I cannot complain about spring being here, as I really do love this season. I do hope we’ll have more spring-like temperatures though, because something I love very much about spring and autumn too is the freshness of the weather. They are beautiful, crisp days, perfect for going for walks, playing out doors, exploring new places – without getting too hot or too cold. Another thing I love about those two seasons is the color palette they allow our eyes to feast on. Completely different colors and tones, but both equally and uniquely breathtaking. Probably the most beautiful place I’ve seen so far in the spring is Paris. Trees bloom all over the city and the suburbs, lining the streets with bursts of white and all shades of pink. The flowers basins all over the city and in all the parks overflow with the most spectacular varieties of flowers, rich in color and texture. At the beginning of spring, daffodils carpet every available green space. It is as if the entire city blossoms and awakens with the arrival of spring.

Last year I experienced my first spring in Connecticut, and I was very pleasantly surprised. Trees that I had only seen with colored leaves in the fall and naked in the winter turned out to have magnificent spring blossoms. I’m so lucky to see many of these trees from my windows and they put on a spectacular show. From one day to the next, tiny buds burst into beautiful flowers, making the trees explosions of white, pastel pink and fuchsia. The fuchsia and darker pink blossoms are my favorites. Daffodils color the ground at the beginning of spring, and are later joined by so many other flowers, and bushes bursting with such shades of pink, red and orange flowers that they seem to be on fire.

Yes, spring here is indeed beautiful and I’m looking forward to enjoying it again. I could probably go on some more, but maybe I should leave something to write later, as spring is only just beginning!

Happy spring!

* At time of writing, it was HOT, at time of posting, not so much…But at least it’s a beautiful sunny day with a gorgeous blue sky! Happy spring indeed! 🙂

Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend

The crisp, cold air stings my face and makes my eyes water, but I don’t mind. Even if I have moments when I long for spring and summer, I do love winter. The naked branches dance against the sky; they are nature’s work of art, as if they were painted or drawn with ink. The beautiful stillness and quiet when it snows is one of my favorite things of winter. Perhaps everyone is watching with wonder in their eyes, or perhaps the falling snow muffles any sound; whatever the reason, the silence is part of the beauty, part of the spectacle. Following the magic of those spectacular snowflakes floating to the ground is the sparkly winter wonderland of a world seemingly encrusted with glittering diamonds.

Does anything look cleaner or more pure than freshly fallen snow?

This is the first time in a very long time that I’m living in a place where snow is usual for the winter. The last time I lived in a city with a snowy winter I was a little girl, living in Wisconsin. When you’re a kid, you never think of the ‘nuisance’ parts of cold, snowy winters – clearing the cars and driveways, or the ice on the streets – you only think of the magical aspect of it. It’s all about the beautiful snowflakes falling from the sky, the sparkling white snow to play in, the snowmen and snow caves, eating the snow, sledding, snow angels and snowball fights…and delicious hot chocolate after all that exhilarating fun.

That’s how I remember my winters as a little girl. My sister and I would get so excited when the snowflakes began to fall. We couldn’t wait to get all bundled up and run outside, mouths open to catch the falling snow. We loved to catch the snowflakes on our gloves and admire their beautiful and unique shapes – after all, no two snowflakes are alike! We would drop in the snow and make snow angels; we would have snowball fights with mom and dad. One time, our neighbors helped us build a snow cave with a tunnel – that was awesome, trust me. One of my all time favorite things was to eat the snow. I could just sit down and happily eat it, for quite some time. Sure, it’s just water in one of its many forms, but it’s snow. Enough said. Something else I loved in the winter: seeing our husky appear out of nowhere in the white expanse. When my dad would call him, a head would suddenly pop out of the snow in some part of the yard. He would dig himself a hole to curl up in, then it would snow over him and he’d be completely covered. He loved the snow, but did refuse to pull our sled. Adamantly refused. If we ever put the sled rope around his neck, he would sit down and refuse to budge. We never minded – his reaction made us laugh. And he loved playing with us in the snow, as long as we weren’t trying to make him pull our sled! Besides, we would sled down the 2-3 steps of our back porch, and even if it wasn’t much of a slope, it was enough for us. Our back yard was a vision in white: a huge expanse of glittering, dazzling snow, like sparkling diamonds, and we loved it.

Snow also makes me think of our time in Montreal at Christmas, and all the time spent playing outside with our cousins. Back then you were sure to always have a very white Christmas, which meant we would be out in the snow as much as possible. We would build fortresses, we would throw snowballs, and we would sit and happily eat the snow when recovering our energy after a more strenuous activity. We would spend hours at a time outside, often only coming in when our moms came looking for us, convinced the snow had managed to get inside our gloves, socks, jackets (everywhere basically), and that we were most likely soaked through with freezing toes and fingers. They were generally correct, even if we would never admit it. Then we’d all trample home, usually leaving a trail of snow behind us, and continue our chatting and games over a wonderful cup of hot chocolate. The next day we would be ready for our fun again, basking in the glow of the sun and the brightness of the snow, glittering like precious gems. It was blissful and I will forever keep wonderful memories of those days.

Even as I’ve gotten older I’ve never lost the excitement and wonder I felt when I would see the snowflakes start falling. I’ll still play in the snow – just a couple of years ago, when we had an unexpected snowstorm in France, my brother, husband and I went outside with our current husky, and we had a blast. Our husky was so excited to be out in all that snow, he was running everywhere, so happy to be part of our games. We threw snowballs, we ate some snow, we made snow angels, and the guys were even brave enough (or crazy?) to let themselves fall face-first in the snow. I couldn’t bring myself to do it, but it was hilarious to watch! Snow has provided me with hours and hours of pure, blissful and heart-warming fun and I look forward to the many hours still waiting to be filled with wintry joy.

Snow will always bring a smile to my face and I can’t wait to play in it again – with my husband, my siblings, my cousins, and eventually, with my kids. That glittering gem of nature will always be this girl’s favorite type of diamond.

Cuts, Scrapes and Bruises

Today has been spectacular. You would think it was a spring day, not a winter’s day. The sky is a solid beautiful blue, with small lazy clouds floating across, mingling with the fluffy contrails. I am sitting outside as I write this, enjoying the mellow temperatures and the golden light of late afternoon. A bee buzzes above my head; is that normal for the middle of winter? Who’s to say what’s normal and what’s not anymore with this crazy weather!

When I went for a short walk before sitting down to write this, I walked past the little forest behind our building. All those dry leaves covering the ground remind me of a book I loved when I was a kid. It was set in Wales and intertwined the lives of modern day boy and a bard of ancient myths. When the author described scenes in the forest, that is how I imagined it. Dry leaves scattered everywhere, broken branches on the forest floor, and meandering creeks leaving serpentine trails. How wondrous a combination a good book and the imagination can be.

Our forest is partly in shambles due to earlier weather transgressions, with large branches and entire trees lying across the ground. I don’t mind; I quite like it actually. It gives the forest more character. Seeing those fallen trees, the trunks making fabulous bridges, I wish I was a child again. I would be climbing all over them if I was still a little girl. I was forever scrambling over rocks, dangling from trees, and constantly getting cuts, scrapes and bruises. It was wonderful. We would make up stories and tales; we would fight to protect the fortress or run away to escape the evil wizard (or king, or whatever they were!). We would build homes, walls, our fortress. We collected sticks, rocks, moss, flowers…Whatever we needed to construct and embellish the fort. It was better than wonderful. Do kids still do that nowadays? I haven’t seen any playing in the forest…

I could go do that now and pretend to be a kid again, but pretending just isn’t the same as the real thing. The mind doesn’t work the same as an adult. Imagination isn’t as real or as sharp; we’re too self-conscious and anchored in reality. The carefree attitude we had is gone; we’re too cautious and careful. But we don’t have to be like that, just because we’ve ‘grown-up’. We shouldn’t lose our sense of wonder, our imagination and our capacity to play, just because we’re adults.

I still get giddy and excited when I see snowflakes falling from the sky. I love a good snowball fight, making snow angels, letting myself fall in the snow, or just eating freshly fallen snow. One of my favorite things to do at the beach is build a sandcastle – a long standing family tradition. It doesn’t matter how old we get, my brother and I will always have splashing fights in the pool. I love those moments.

Maybe I should go climb those trees. Even if I just sit there on the trunk and imagine the stories I could play out, that’s already something. I should grab my husband and have him climb with me and sit beside me. Maybe those will be our weekend plans – to just be kids again.

Good Thing Thanksgiving is Over…

I have the wonderful entertainment factor of having these wild turkeys strutting around through autumn and winter. We usually see them more in the autumn, but I guess our relatively mild winter has kept them around. Don’t be fooled by the snow on the ground – it melted almost as fast as it fell down.

I’ve been trying to capture these guys on camera for a while now and I finally got my chance a few days ago. Everytime I had my camera with me, they were nowhere to be found, and everytime I saw them, my camera was nowhere near me. But they couldn’t elude me forever, and here are some of the shots I took – hope you enjoy!

December Sights

Although today is gray and overcast, we’ve been very lucky that the past 10 days or so have been beautiful winter days. Crisp and cold, but with a stunning blue sky and a lovely winter glow over everything. It’s perfect weather for invigorating walks and ideal for taking pictures, which I did more than happily.

I’ve already shared some of those on my previous post, but that one had a specific theme. Today’s collection is just a random compilation of some of the wonderful sights I got to enjoy.

Hopefully you’ll enjoy them too!

This was an incredible and unexpected surprise Sunday morning when I looked out the window. I only wish he had been closer or that I had a greater zoom so that I could have captured his beauty even more!
I just loved how the leaves were climbing up the trunk and how they make a carpet around the tree.

I loved how this bush stood out with its lush green leaves and those bright red berries, in the middle of all those bare trees and graying grass. I also happened to love its shape!
The golden color of the plants in front made those red berries pop even more, and I found the contrast stunning.
This gathering was so beautifully bright and stood out so clearly that I spotted them from far away! They were a welcome burst of color among all the gray and brown!
What says winter and christmas better than a beautiful pine tree? This was definitely one of my favorite sights - the branches were gently swaying in the wind, and the contrast against the blue sky made the pine cones stand out even more. It's beginning to look a lot like christmas!

The Autumn Battle

The raindrops fall from the sky, running down the roof tiles and hanging on the bare branches. The gentle pitter-patter is a steady, soothing rythm.

Most of the trees are naked now, but autumn has not yet exhaled its final breath. Flashes of gold and red still stand out against the gray, the last valiant warriors in a losing battle.

The air is getting colder, and night creeps upon us on earlier and earlier, but I am not upset at winter’s stealthy approach.

Every season fills me with a different kind of a joy, with a newfound excitement for what that season brings.

So for now I’ll enjoy those last autumn battles, those final flames sputtering under the cold rain, fighting to stay alight.

But when winter comes to call and the trees are shivering in their bare branches, waiting for their sparkling white blanket, I will welcome and embrace it.