Glorious autumn is a wonderful time in colorful Colorado

Autumn in Colorado — the most beautiful season of the year.

This is the season that makes me the most thankful that I have lived 89 years in this beautiful state. The other six were in lovely areas, but not like ours.

Autumn gives me a peaceful feeling and welcome slowing of pace.

Samuel Butler felt the same way. “Youth is like spring, an over praised season more remarkable for biting winds than genial breezes. Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.”

Autumn in Colorado is the season of brilliant color — desert colors and mountain colors. In the spring everything is green. In the fall we find every color of the rainbow.

And it lasts from early September until after Thanksgiving. The trouble is, if you could call it trouble, you never know just what you are going to find when you wake up in the morning. It varies from day to day. You may even find snow on the ground. But very often it ends up with a pure blue sky — Colorado blue.

I have to admit that autumn 2009 started off in a haze. But the haze in Colorado disappeared before the fires in California did. Fortunately, the horrible fires out there were finally brought under control.

The haze did bring one spectacular sight to Grand Junction. For several evenings the setting sun was a brilliant crimson.

Last week, I was heading west for my Wednesday coffee klatch. The western sky was black as night. Indoors with a cup of hot coffee, I looked out an east window and the light was bright, the sun was behind a white cloud and the wind had the trees nearly horizontal. Five minutes later the trees were upright and motionless. When we drove home, the sky from horizon to horizon was perfect Colorado blue, with not a cloud to be seen.

It will be like this almost all the time until after Thanksgiving. I sometimes think turkeys have some influence.

Now that I am in what might be called politely my autumn years (well, maybe a little past) I do remember autumns of the past.

To the young, autumn means anything but peace. For most of them it means school. To me, from Lowell School through Englewood High School, fall meant getting up and trudging off to school. Take the bus? What’s a school bus?

And then came college and there were football games, especially the Thanksgiving Day game between the University of Colorado and Denver University in the old Merchants Park in Denver. To my regret, Whizzer White did not come along until four years later.

Another highly memorable thing about those college years in Boulder was the wind. I have mentioned the autumn wind, haven’t I?  I usually spent late afternoon in the gym, and getting from there to my sorority house was an adventure. The wind came down from the west and I had to go west.

Fortunately, there were big trees along the street. I could duck down and run to the first tree and catch my breath and then run from tree to tree. And we think we have wind in Grand Junction.

Then there was the day in September when my youngest flew off to college. He had never flown and was unaccompanied by anyone he knew. I think I stood by that fence at Walker Field and watched the plane until it got to Los Angeles.

Then there is daylight saving time. In the fall we get rid of it. My friend the philosopher has the theory that anything bad that happens while it is in place is the fault of daylight saving time. And in autumn we get rid of it. This theory has not been scientifically proved, but she stands by it.

Colorado in any season is a wonderful place to live. But in the autumn, the trees turn gold and purple and red, the air smells lovely, and people my age sort of relax and breathe it in.

William C. Bryant says: “Autumn. The year’s last, loveliest smile.”


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