You may have heard me say it many times before but autumn is far and away my favorite time of the year. For most people spring is the time of year that represents renewal but for me it's the fall. For me, the fall is when everything is coming back to life. For the first 22 years of my life it meant that the school year was starting up again. It means that the football, soccer, basketball and hockey seasons are starting up again. This was always the best time of year for me growing up because I was such a soccer nut - nothing made me happier than playing soccer and so the fall was the best time of the year for me. The fall meant Saturday mornings at Brickyard Field in Litchfield. Later on it meant soccer practices after school and bus rides to places like Milford, Derry and Merrimack for games.
I guess I don't really know exactly what it is that makes autumn my favorite time of year. There's just something comforting in it, something that brings back all the fondest memories of years gone by. Growing up in New England, fall was always magical if for no other reason than because of the leaves changing. My brother has traveled all over the world and seen more places than anyone I know and he says that New England during peak foliage season, when the leaves are at their most colorful, is still the most beautiful thing he's ever seen. I'm inclined to agree. I was fortunate to attend college at a small, private school tucked away in the mountains in southwest New Hampshire called Franklin Pierce College (Now called Franklin Pierce University). It sits at the base of Mt. Monadnock, the second most climbed mountain in the world after Mt Fuji, and is right in the heart of leaf-peeper territory. "Leaf-peeper" is the term that refers to the droves of tourists that flock to the area in the fall to admire and photograph the vibrant foliage colors, many of whom come from as far away as Europe and Asia.
It's not that often that I find myself missing home. But seeing pictures of the foliage definitely brings back some very fond memories.
By the way, here's a great one-stop website for New England foliage: