Sunlit Autumn

Deanna Eppers
4 min readSep 26, 2022

Searching for the beauty in every (autumn) day…

Photo by Olivia Hutcherson on Unsplash

Here in southern Ohio autumn is a bit A.D.D., meaning the maples might be in their full red-hued glory, only the oaks are mainly green and loathe to succumb to the longer nights. Or I’ll see the most beautiful blazing red burning bushes only to notice the honeysuckle refuses to turn anything but green.

I miss the full riot of color upstate New York provided, or even Ohio just a bit north of here. As a child I still remember the reverie of autumn hitting me at age nine while I dutifully dusted my parents’ bedroom. Their windows overlooked a woods, and I looked out at the day and felt stunned by the slant of the sun hitting the reds, yellows, oranges, browns and greens all at once.

That day I fell under autumn’s spell, and since then I’ve spent some time trying to recreate the magic of spying something far too glorious to belong to this world, only it does.

Since that landmark day I’ve been blessed enough to have pockets of newfound happiness in this sweet golden season, where every night grows longer by three minutes or more. On a hayride I noticed the lighter blue sky with thin cirrus clouds flying along the heavens, but the sun still warmed my shoulders even in that October day decades ago.

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

I found a dried flower barn, called the Tussy Mussy in Wisconsin, and I’d drive out with my family to spend hours or more carefully choosing the dried bittersweet, amaranth, sea lavender and sunflower heads while the rest of my family drank sweet cider and roamed around the barns and animals. The scent of the dried flowers perfumed the old barns, and I thought nothing in the world could be as wonderful as having enough land and money to plant acres of lovely flowers.

Just a few years ago our family drove fifteen minutes to an apple orchard where we’d stock up on cider, baking apples, and some caramel apples to enjoy inside near the fire. So many of our neighbors were there at the same time, and what felt like a secret shared among all of us made us grin at one another like school kids.

The apple orchard had to be a place one stumbled across, for no advertising existed unless it was word of mouth. But that magical place with the outbuildings made rock by rock a hundred or more years ago lived as a secret to be discovered. It’s gone now. The old apple trees look twisted, bereft and sad, but nobody wanted to buy that orchard.

So we cast out for new places to wander, such as the pumpkin patch that sells pumpkin everything. Scones, muffins, bread and pie in addition to the largest mums I’ve ever carried. Actually, they are so mammoth that I lug them around in a flat, wide cart of sorts and shove them into the back of my car.

This year I wanted to slip into the woods in Vermont where every tree is aflame with color at the same moment. For two wonderful weeks the trees hold onto that color, and then one windy day torrents of leaves fly around and down. It’s a magical moment, and one I felt on a windy, whispery night in Wisconsin long ago when my love and I sat outside, drank wine on a weekend night, and amid the leaves we spoke quietly of our dreams and hopes.

Photo by Skylar Zilka on Unsplash

Now that many of those dreams have come true, we spend our time here or at the cabin/farm and watch as the white oak drop her acorns and the deer who amble past for a snack. We stay by a fire indoors, though I have promised my love to sit outside around a proper campfire this weekend. We hope to enjoy the magic of autumn even if it takes six weeks or more to have every tree realize that it is finally time to let go.

Living up north might be full of cold winds and snow, but she does autumn perfectly. I am secretly hoping to steal away one bright day and drive as far north as I want, and then I’ll take a hike under swirls of trees burnished and ready for more nine year olds to really look and see them.

Maybe I’ll catch up to that wisp of a girl who felt overawed by the show called autumn. She still longs to be stunned into reverent silence as the world waits for an October wind to finally blow the tendrils of colors down adrift onto the green ground.

I hope you have the chance to head north at least just once to see how resplendent the woods in autumn truly are. I hope it takes your breath away, and that you feel anointed by the beauty.

--

--

Deanna Eppers

Musician, ex-CPA at KPMG Peat Marwick, volunteer, decorator, renovating another house, mom to three, wife to one, blogs about finding happiness