When I was in 4th grade (which wash’t too long ago by the way…) I would walk home by myself after school. I loved those walks, especially at this time of year. I would cross the busy intersection of the small town and then go through the back streets gazing at the various homes and wondering what was happening behind the windows. I would make up people and events in my mind thinking that in one house lived an old couple who would sit and eat soup just to watch me walk by their window every day at 3. In another home was a single man, working on his computer and sipping tea while wearing those ugly brown shoes old men don when lazing around the house (loafers?). And yet in another home was a married couple who never saw me walk by their house because they were too busy arguing about paying the bills and whose turn it was to go buy stamps at the post office (did I just give my age away?).
Aside from this imaginative game I also loved walking home because I was able to step on all the crunchy leaves strewn on the ground in a beautiful array of red, orange, yellow. I would make every effort to find the ones that looked the most curled and most worn so that I could place my foot directly above it and then hear the satisfying crunch as it crumbled to bits under my sole. The sight of those leaves meant a change in seasons and a change in time. It meant I was getting older.
This time of year also meant that I would find my mom in the kitchen with the windows all dewy from her cooking. I would enter the house to be greeted by the most wonderful scents and find myself engulfed with the warmth from her cooking. There was something comforting about taking that walk home and finding the leaves with the loudest crunch.