A cherished Canadian Thanksgiving family tradition is to go apple picking at a local orchard. This year, a severe spring frost damaged any hope for a quality yield in a number of apple varieties. On Saturday, we visited an orchard which has quickly come to be our favourite for the range of apple varieties it offers, and for the on-site bakery and store where we can purchase pies, streudels, cider, and other marvelous apple products, either to eat there (warm) or to take home. We were able to come home without empty hands, but with none of the mutsu or empire varieties I love to use in pies.
Sunday, we went to greater lengths to find an orchard with my wife’s family. We were wholly unsuccessful. But the weekend was not wasted. We had the opportunity to take in the beauty of autumn’s palette.
Having young children, my wife and I have limited opportunities to get away, so we have to use our anniversary as a basis for doing any activity we want to do without our children. This year, though our anniversary is in July, my wife and I decided to forego our standard weekend of unbridled vanity in favour a simpler trip in late September to Ontario’s Muskoka region to relish in the splendour of autumn foliage. For a number of reasons, that plan withered, so our local foliage would have to do. It might be less breathtaking than the vistas of more northern climes, but it’s still breathtaking.
It’s difficult to get one’s children to share appreciation for important things. During those drives this weekend, there was a good amount of complaining from the back seat about how I wouldn’t let my 9-year-old watch a movie or play video games. On Saturday, I finally said in exasperation: “Outside your window is the most beautiful picture ever painted. It was painted by a famous painter you might have heard about: God. So look out your window and keep quiet.”
Then I smirked at the silly things parents say… except, it was true. In my travels, I have seen a plethora of really stunning works of art, but never anything so beautiful or brilliant or phenomenal as the one we get to see every autumn.
Today, I am thankful for autumn. The science of the changing of the leaves is exceedingly simple; the visual result is magnificent.