As the wind whistles through the trees, its invisible finders snatch at my hair. Overhead, a blackbird screams to its neighbor. As I stand up straight with my arms outstretched, the wind plasters my shirt to me. Suddenly I fling myself back and let the dry leaves settle around me.
Surrounded by the sound of crunching leaves, I can smell the wet earth. It smells like the mist at dawn, clean and full of life and hope. A leaf scurries across my face as it falls off a tree, leaving behind a tickling sensation. Cocooned in my leafy bed, I am no longer chilled by the wind. The smell of wood smoke permeates the air, bringing a warning of the winter to come.
I gaze up at the kaleidoscope of colors on my canopy: more shades of red, yellow and amber than I could ever imagine. Together they form a collage that no human can reproduce. Their vibrant colors make the brown of the dead leaves even more dramatic.
Dancing around the treetops are groups of squirrels. Although they are gathering nuts for winter, their excited chattering shows that they, too, are enjoying the freedom of fall.
Now is the time to look up and watch the branches of the trees dance in the wind. Their dark fingertips seem to stroke the sky. For such powerful trees, the branches move gracefully as they tease the remaining leaves, daring the to stay attached. At the base of the trees, the fallen leaves twirl about, beckoning the brightly stragglers to join them.
Chipmunks scamper around at the feet of these trees, filling the hollows with their treasures in preparation for the upcoming winter. Their miniature feet scarcely make a sound as they trample the fallen leaves in their path.
Soon, above the branches, a pink tinge of color extends across the sky. The world turns into a soft blend of muted colors. As the air gets even cooler, despite my leafy coverings, it reminds me that it is time to leave. The leaves slide off me with a faint rustling sigh as I stand up and walk home, surrounded by a comforting mantle of muted colors. I have grown up now, but that peaceful feeling left by the leaf pile will always make me feel as if I am ten again.