I have always loved fall foliage. The sad thing, though, about growing up in California is that in that region of the United States, fall foliage or the gradual but vibrant color change of leaves, is pretty much nonexistent. When I was young, I was never educated as to why the leaves change color in parts of the U.S. like the northeast, so I thought that maybe, just maybe all this leaf peeping fascination was just made up.
Well, I moved to the northeast for college in August 2004, so autumn 2004 was my very first time being immersed in these beautiful shades of orange, red, yellow, gold, and deep purple. I probably spent more time than I should have stressing over midterms and other school work related tasks, but I did remember the fun of stepping and crunching over fall leaves and throwing them all in the air. It was like being a little kid all over again, just for the first time with this type of experience. When I first came out to the northeast, I thought about all the seasonal festivities kids (and, well, adults) get to have: the autumn leaf peeping and crunching, the apple orchards and cider donuts, the hay rides, the pumpkin carving. It’s not that most of those things cannot be done in other parts of the U.S. It’s more that with the crisp autumn air and temperatures, it seems like a more perfect fit here, where you get a real fall/autumn.
So we looked around at areas where Kaia could get big bunches of leaves and throw them everywhere. We found it at Mason Square today, which is in front of where the first game of basketball was played here in Springfield in 1891. The leaves were not quite crunchy because of the on and off rain, but at least they were bright and golden. We showed Kaia how to grab a bunch and throw them, and being a toddler, she was quite excited and tried to throw some herself. With each throw of leaves and each leaf that fell on her head, she let out her sweet little giggle of wonder and delight. And of course, I tried to document this with as many photos and videos as I could get. I even dressed her in an autumn leaf/flower top in anticipation of capturing these moments. It was sweet to watch her embrace this and throw the leaves here and there. Her fascination with the leaves (and of course, trying to put one in her mouth) was heartwarming to watch. She’s learning about all different seasonal parts of our world, one look and touch at a time.