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Nik’s Autumn Almanac

From the dew-soaked hedge creeps a crawly caterpillar,
When the dawn begins to crack.
It’s all part of my autumn almanac.
Breeze blows leaves of a musty-colored yellow,
So I sweep them in my sack.
Yes, yes, yes, it’s my autumn almanac.

“Autumn Almanac” by Ray Davies, The Kinks

Yesterday, the sun rose brightly on a crisp, dew-sparkled morning. The call of early geese carried on the wind. Leaves swirled from the large maple in the neighbors’ yard, drifting down to grace our late summer garden with a scattering of golden yellow, flecked with brown and red. The cats lazed on the window sills in the dappled morning light as our household awakened lazily without the aid of alarm clocks or a crying child in the dawn hour. Seven o’clock. Blissful awakening.

It felt like a good morning for a family adventure. So off we went in the picture perfect autumn weather to the Fall Festival held by the same folks that hosted the Peach Festival in August. It was busy in a small town sort of way —just enough to entertain but not too much to overwhelm.

There were children’s mazes made of hay bales, a giant maze cut through the corn fields, pumpkin painting (which we skipped as Nik isn’t quite into that yet), a petting zoo, hayrides and pick-your-own-apples and pumpkins, as well as corn and soybean “sandboxes” and fresh pressed apple cider.

Nik exhausted himself in the fresh air and sunshine. His favorite things were the sandboxes —total sensory delight, and the animals.

Nik made fast friends with Paddy, a five week old calf. It was a mutual affection, apparently. It was so wonderful for us to watch Nik really engage with Paddy; we actually had to keep him from climbing on top of the poor calf!
The change we saw from the last time we were here was phenomenal! Nik was so much more aware of his surroundings and of the other children.

And he even managed to bring home about a quarter cup of beans; imagine “The Princess and the Pea” —in his shoes! They somehow got up under his pant leg and down between his orthotics and his foot. OUCH. Poor kid. No wonder he didn’t want to walk or stand after he got out of the beans. And here we thought he was just tired. But that wasn’t as bad as another kid who I watched end up with a diaper full of beans!

And, reminiscent of the peach ice cream encounter in August, Nik managed to surprise us by tasting and actually enjoying fresh pressed, mulled apple cider. Ordinarily, Nik won’t drink anything but water. If he has a single sip of juice or milk he pushes the cup away and makes a face as if I poisoned him. My drama child! Not only did he not push the cup away, Nik actually kept pulling my hand back to give him more. Needless to day, there’s a half gallon container of the stuff in my fridge right now.

I love the autumn; it always feels like a fresh start to me. And after all we’ve been through recently, we’re certainly ready to put it behind us and move on.

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