Some days my hike finds me lulled to a meditative zone by the gentle arms of mother nature. Clothed in multi-textured, subtly-shaded green gown, her warm breath calms my rattled mind. She holds me in her sanctuary of summer.

But, lately, she has been rehearsing for a new role.  She has been trying on shades of red and gold. She has been drying the leaves for their autumn concert on what is called the “peak” week-end.

Today mother nature began her peak week-end by dancing  a joyful symphony of color.  Reds, golds, mauves, yellows, rusty greens, ragged browns. High in the trees the leaves clap their hands as pre-winter winds whisper through their arms and fingers. The leaves glided and pirouette into the still stream. The leaves lingered this year as the rainy summer has secured them in place long enough to intensify in their shifting colors.

I walk the trails and my boots provide the cadence. The drying leaves under my feet sound like the brush on the symbol or the snare drum. This season mother nature is not in the  business of being a cradle for me to mull my thoughts so I can write them in a blog. Today she is shouting, “LOOK AT ME—LISTEN TO ME—MY SOUL IS JOY AND I AM DRESS TO PARTY.”

I sat on a bench beside the trail looking and listening. A man in shorts and a ball cap with a gray pony tail sticking out the back of his head strolled by and said to me, “It’s hard not to smile today, isn’t it?”

Yup! A smile is about all that seems adequate—and a whispered “Thank you” to mother nature’s autumn concert of joy.