The season is turning, slowly and with hesitation, and surprisingly I don't seem to mind. After a grueling hot summer the cool, nearly cold mornings are a welcome relief. The helicopter seedlings are starting to shake loose of the maples and only a few leaves are beginning to change. The mornings are sweet and moist, and sometimes smell like mornings I remember from my childhood when my family camped overnight on the edge of some lake and I awoke in the stale, cold air of our tent. At this time of year I spend half our walks lost in some memory, revisiting the past, blissfully unaware of the dew that gathers on the cuffs of my pants even as it saturates Duncan's paws and belly. It is all glorious and exactly as it should be.
But the evenings are my favorite because there is this moment when we walk through the park, weeding our way through the soccer hoards, blocking out the infernal noise of the Columbine High School marching band with an Autumnal song I whistle over and over at this time of year, when the sky changes moment by moment and I am reminded every second how fortunate I am to live on the edge of the Great Plains at the foot of the Rockies. As the sun dips behind the tall peaks everything seems to go silent for a moment and the world sighs. The earth seems to open up in relief and all the fragrances which have baked there throughout the day are released: the sweetness of the grass, the coolness of the water, the heavy scent of the bark, from the stringy elms to the whispering aspens, from the gangly, awkward poplars to the regal cottonwoods. As we walk over the grass we pass through pockets of shivering cold air mere feet in diameter, like stepping in October, and then back out into the summer warmth of the day. They are like invisible polka dots that bring a smile to my face.
Duncan loves all seasons equally and plods ahead merrily, unaware perhaps, how inspiring his delight is to me and how much I love him for it.