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follow the yellow leaf road

October 3, 2012

Oh summer, you circus of sensory pleasures! For months the land is blindingly green; bright blossoms flag down honeybees; and our fleece jackets sit on indoor hooks looking sort of archaic while we imbibe sunshine like Charlie Sheen on a bender.

And then, one day, there’s this.

And it’s a clever trick, this last flare up such epic gorgeousness, it’s like taking Rose to the all-you-can-eat mac and cheese bar before breaking the news that it’s kale salad for the next 5 months.

We took the kids on our annual fall trip, clearing everything off the calendar for this one day, and you could almost hear the clunk of work and deadlines thudding to the floor.

Frisbee at Lizard Head Pass, elevation 10,222 ft. We keep forgetting to put a 1st aid kit in the car, but we do always have a frisbee. 

Rose whispered to me, after we jumped over a mud puddle 19 times: I want to make a card for Daddy that says, “Sometimes you’re so nice I don’t know what to say.”

Dan is so happy here. He practically floated out of the car, singing, “this is the land of elk and honey. And also perhaps, a bunny!”

As we walked through the aspen groves, I had one of those moments where the world shrinks to a spotlight illuminating this one day, and I’m present enough to realize that right now, everything is good in a simple and straightforward way. Our family unit is still an uncontested force that everyone believes in. The kids’ smiles are free of any real heartbreak. In a contest between “looking good” and “having fun,” there is no contest: Col delves straight into the mud puddles soon as he’s sprung from the car. Rose is both old enough to hike a good distance, but young enough to turn to me and say, “can you hold my hat while I run like a pony?”


Rose may or may not have kissed our bag of goodies (from the ABC bakery in Mancos) when we stopped for a snack. 

I kept focusing my camera in on something—like the yellow leaf ornaments decorating christmasy spruce trees—and not actually snapping a picture, realizing I just wanted to see it again, to mark it in my memory before everything changes. Which is exactly how I feel about our family right now. Here we are, still belonging sweetly to each other before the bigger world, appropriately, begins to lure the kids away.

There is nothing that makes a sky bluer than yellow leaves…or nothing that makes leaves yellower than a blue sky.

Our favorite little wild hot springs.

Col decided on his own that he’s growing his hair out. And as much as I keep wanting to “neaten it up,” I like even more that he gets to choose (choice is: no neatening, Mama!)

After a dinner of burgers, fries and milkshakes, the kids fell asleep on the way home, evoking all the sweetness and innocence that rises to the top of sleeping children everywhere. Dan and I did a lot of happy sighing, acknowledging that winter is the Next Thing Coming, and that’s okay. I’m looking forward to the seasonal shift toward indoor creativity, and for the time, as Dan says, “to digest the big meal of summer.”

34 Comments leave one →
  1. permalink
    October 3, 2012 8:03 am

    What an exquisitely beautiful telling if a day in paradise. Thank you Rachel

    Sent from my iPhone Kathleen Hennessy

  2. October 3, 2012 8:12 am

    Gorgeousness. The New England fall kaleidoscope is nice and all, but really those gold coins of the aspen leaves against the blue high mountain sky leave boring old maples and oaks and gray clouds in the dust. And hot springs? We haven’t had those here in like 100 million years. Sigh.

  3. Ellen permalink
    October 3, 2012 8:45 am

    Beautiful family in a breathtaking setting. So fitting.

  4. October 3, 2012 8:57 am

    oh so lovely!! it’s beyond words for me, so i was counting on YOU! matt took the boys up engineer yesterday and he said he almost cried it was so overwhelming…the beauty of it all..your fall trip sounds perfect! absolut and dare i ask? hamburger haven? we called it hamburger satan when we lived in mancos! so good and so bad!!!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      October 3, 2012 9:06 am

      The burger depot in Dolores. Satan was working in the kitchen, spraying HFCS in our shakes and MSGluten in our buns.

      • kristen permalink
        October 3, 2012 4:38 pm

        Mmm! When we lived in Dolores there was NOTHING like a burger and shake at the Burger Depot. So excited to take the boys hiking in Tride this weekend. Awesome preview!

  5. October 3, 2012 8:59 am

    Made me feel like shedding a tear of joy. Very moving words you’ve written here!

  6. October 3, 2012 9:03 am

    Sigh….I so miss Aspens…..Growing up in Flagstaff, AZ I can feel every ounce of this post. Oh the glory of this season! And the way you write about your family unit and this stage you are in. I FEEL it in my bones momma. Just last night I was tucking my boys into bed, the little holding my hand against his cheek and my eldest curled up in my lap….I looked at Bill and we just knew. It wont always be like this. Savoring every day over here and this post was a wonderful reminder that it is perfectly okay to :)

  7. October 3, 2012 9:26 am

    Sometimes your posts are so nice I don’t know what to say.

  8. Baba permalink
    October 3, 2012 9:33 am

    Wonderful photos and words! Your beautiful description of the coming of winter reminds me of a poem by Issa.
    “Dew evaporates and all our world is dew…. So dear, so fresh so fleeting”

  9. the habit of being permalink
    October 3, 2012 9:48 am

    love these photos! so gorgeous and beautiful but i especially love the mental image of y’all under that sky and those trees sucking up sunshine like “charlie sheen on a bender.” xo

  10. October 3, 2012 11:10 am

    The most poignant for me ….. ” Here we are, still belonging sweetly to each other before the bigger world, appropriately, begins to lure the kids away.”
    Thank you Rachel, God bless your family. ♥

  11. Judy permalink
    October 3, 2012 12:14 pm

    One of your most beautiful pieces. A perfect interweaving of words, photos, the family, the seasons – caught in an instant of time & joyfully savored.

  12. Anonymous permalink
    October 3, 2012 12:18 pm

    I love this!!! Grateful for your tremendous talent.

  13. Nathan Daley permalink
    October 3, 2012 2:04 pm

    Fantastic! True life! All around.

  14. Nathan Daley permalink
    October 3, 2012 2:10 pm

    Reblogged this on ecoHolos: One, Health, Whole, Healing and commented:
    Simply a beautiful account of a family reveling in the never-before, never-again, loving richness of this very, one and only, fall!

  15. October 3, 2012 2:23 pm

    Oh my word. The leaves. The sky. Your children. You family. This post made me sigh a big happy sigh. You guys are wonderful.

  16. October 3, 2012 2:33 pm

    It’s all just so singingly beautiful!!!

  17. Beth Drechsel permalink
    October 3, 2012 3:50 pm

    We live 1/2 hour or so south of Durango, and hubby and I spent five beautiful days on a Colorado Color trip last week. I never tire of sitting on the forest floor and looking up into the glorious fall of leaves. It’s been a busy summer with gardening and preserving and I, like you, am ready for the slower, creative time of winter. It’s nice to have seasons, isn’t it?

  18. Anonymous permalink
    October 4, 2012 7:12 am

    absolutely beautiful – the family and the scenery

  19. October 4, 2012 3:00 pm

    This is stunning! I don’t think we have aspens here but we have oh so many maples with all the colours of the fall rainbow: reds, oranges and of course yellows!

  20. jessica permalink
    October 4, 2012 5:36 pm

    I think this is the best post I have ever read on your site!!

  21. October 4, 2012 7:28 pm

    You knocked this one out of the park. Beauty at every turn.

  22. October 4, 2012 8:14 pm

    You know M(amma)ji Rachel,
    although feeble ilg may have published so many books?
    ilg considers writers such as you
    among the Real Authors,
    the Real Writers,
    the deep down bone writers from the Soul..
    head bowed,
    feet in lotus
    to your Treasured Light
    and capacity to Give…

    infinitesimal ilg

  23. Christy permalink
    October 4, 2012 9:36 pm

    Oh, what Rose whispered about her daddy. Made my heart smile. Can’t imagine how it made your mama heart feel!

  24. October 5, 2012 7:31 am

    Rachel, every Friday I write a post called “Good Words” and quote lines from music, stories, or blogs, to share with my readers. Today, I highlighted a paragraph from this piece and also responded to it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  25. October 5, 2012 2:48 pm

    Such gorgeous scenery! We’re getting toward autumn over here (Reno) and today is definitely cooler.

  26. October 5, 2012 6:06 pm

    glorious! especially “belonging sweetly to each other.”

  27. October 6, 2012 5:53 pm

    Loved this post, gorgeous pictures, wonderful words! So glad you are treasuring these times with your little ones and holding them close….the years do slip by so fast… a Grandma now, I know and I recall those precious moments with my little ones, even today as they are grown. :)

  28. Denise permalink
    October 7, 2012 1:43 pm

    I’m reading your blog out loud to my husband while he tries to put a bathroom sink back together. Loved hearing about “Pony-girl” and the card she would write her daddy :) Perfect Sunday afternoon reading–thank you.

  29. Megan permalink
    October 9, 2012 12:45 pm

    you captured this so well it hurts. a year ago i was on a plane to hawaii escaping fall and heartbreak and cold loneliness. today you remind me that in staying right here in the light rays of the yellow cottonwood outside my bedroom window, that i am exactly where i need to be and that my incessant wandering heart is actually quiet and settled and not needing to go anywhere too far. thank you. <3

  30. October 9, 2012 9:56 pm

    So much gorgeousness around you. How can you stand it?

    And as for your sentiments, “Here we are, still belonging sweetly to each other before the bigger world, appropriately, begins to lure the kids away.” I am right there with you sister, except I don’t think I could have said it quite as elegantly.

    We’re experiencing an amazing autumn here ourselves, and it seems like each day brings a new wonder for us to behold. I am so in love with the season right now that even though I loved summer and lamented its passing, I can’t imagine anything more beautiful than what I see when I step outside our home right now.


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