It will be my birthday in a few hours. I like this time of year as it has always felt like a new beginning to me. Pulling out pleasant, happy memories, to examine without a lot of psychological interpretation, is one of the things a birthday can trigger.
This time of the year in Indiana was always beautiful- wonderful crisp mornings and cool pleasant days. The air even smelled crisp. The sunlight was of a different color that belonged to autumn alone, slowly changing day by day.The forests that surrounded the lake were always just beginning a splendid display of all the reds, oranges and yellows that should be in everyone's paintbox of memories. The summer people were all gone from the lake by October, even the stragglers. If my little tiny fishing boat had not been put into dry dock, I would break the morning mirror of water reflecting the colors everywhere except the deep, never still center, with my wake. Cutting my engine to drift in the colors around and under me, only the sounds of birds, sometimes ducks and the few geese that called the lake home, with the occasional splash from a large mouthed bass diving back under the surface, would break the silence. I can close my eyes and see, hear, smell - almost touch- that sense of Midwest autumn.
I suspect that my memories are of all the autumns rolled into one, that they are not a single moment of memory, but an aggregate of all the autumns I ever spent on the lake -with no imperfections or minor annoyances to cloud the smile they bring.
My son has never seen a Midwest autumn. His memories are of a more subtle color and light change in the mountains surrounding us; beiges and browns, rusts of many shades and the occasional quick burst of red, orange or yellow in spotty clumps here and there, are his sense impressions ...and of suiting up in red or black to quarterback high school football to the sounds of the crowds in the stands.