When I was growing up, my favorite tree was a Japanese Maple in my parents’ backyard. Every September the tree put on a show, and its leaves would turn the most brilliant shade of red before they fell to the ground. I know that some people lament the end of summer, and fall is viewed as a harbinger of the cold winter to come. But I love the cycle of the seasons and see September and October as a time for renewal and introspection, which might not be such a coincidence since I grew up in a household that took Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, the Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement, very seriously.
In Denver, the temperatures have been really warm (maybe even a bit unseasonal), but the nights have turned cool. It’s sit-on-the-porch-and-watch-the-stars-while-drinking-a-glass-of-red-wine sort of weather. And as much as I love fall in the city, it’s up in the mountains where the season really shines. Groves of Quaking Aspens have started to turn their bright yellow, gold and orange hues. The colonies look like streaks going down the mountain and lend a shock of color to an otherwise green pine backdrop… basically, it’s an arborist's dream.
Last weekend, while my husband was celebrating his 40th birthday out-of-town with a group of childhood friends (all of whom are reaching the milestone this year), I took the boys on what I hope will become an annual pilgrimage to Steamboat Springs.
I’ve been feeling more intrepid, adventurous and confident as a mother, so I didn’t think twice about taking this solo-parenting vacation. Severe temper tantrums are becoming a thing of the past, which means my nerves are less shot and I’m better able to deal with minor behavior issues. On this trip, thankfully, there were none.
We hiked for hours around Fish Creek Falls, drove down the most bucolic country roads, soaked in the hot mineral springs at Strawberry Park ($10 adult/ $5 kids) and even dined out!
A friend of mine calls this phase—one where your children are no longer babies, no longer depend on you for every function, and are able to keep their emotions in check—as being “out of the woods.” And I truly feel like we’ve overcome some of the hardest challenges of raising children for the past few years.
Speaking of woods (see what I did there?), during the trip to the mountains, those Aspen forests were as breathtaking as they were restorative.
I found myself thinking about the Japanese Maple tree in the yard of my childhood home, and within a few minutes of hiking through the Aspens, Otis turned to me and said, “I think we should plant a few of these in our front yard.” I totally agreed…
Wishing you wonderful autumn adventures,