Last October, an early snowstorm stripped the trees of their beautiful leaves all too quickly, leaving us with a truncated autumn that was over almost as soon as it began. This year, fall has been taking its sweet time, giving us bright sunny days and cool nights… and it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.
I’ve been loving it – drinking in the colors at every turn, making cider and all sorts of comfort food on the colder nights, waking up our fireplace on occasion. This stretch from October through December is absolutely my favorite time of year; you’ll pardon me if I get a little overly excited about it.
So with yet another lovely Sunday at our doorstep, and nothing important vying for our attention, Luke and I decided to head down to Washington Park for a stroll.
Of course, plenty of other people had the same idea. One thing I love about Denver – all of Colorado, really – is that when the sun is out, everyone is out. People make use of each gorgeous day here, no matter what season it is. Rough weather only drives people into hiding for a very short period of time. As soon as the snow stops falling, the streets start filling with people again. It feels like there’s some sort of festival or event happening in every neighborhood every weekend, even when it’s frigid outside.
But we haven’t had to deal with that kind of chill yet. Today it was a balmy 70°F.
Washington Park was first dreamed up in 1899 by a German landscape architect, and completed in 1908. Walking beneath trees that have been standing in the same place for over 100 years is a pretty amazing feeling – granted, that’s a young age for a tree, but in the middle of such a “hip” urban neighborhood, it’s easy to forget that places like these still have so much history. Many of the trails that wind around the lakes and gardens were originally built for carriages, and the boathouse that sits on Smith Lake has been there since 1913.
Wandering around brought to mind a Chesterton poem. To tell the truth, he’s the first writer my mind drifts to when I’m in a good mood. He was such a joyful person with such a keen appreciation for the world around him. So here, for the sake of it, is Gold Leaves:
Lo! I am come to autumn,
When all the leaves are gold;
Grey hairs and golden leaves cry out
The year and I are old.
In youth I sought the prince of men,
Captain in cosmic wars,
Our Titan, even the weeds would show
Defiant, to the stars.
But now a great thing in the street
Seems any human nod,
Where shift in strange democracy
The million masks of God.
In youth I sought the golden flower
Hidden in wood or wold,
But I am come to autumn,
When all the leaves are gold.