The Seasons, They Are A’Changin…

This is my first real Autumn in I don’t know how long.

My first, honest-to-goodness, stomping-through-piles-of-leaves kind of Autumn.

park maples

It’s not like we didn’t have Autumn in Phoenix, it’s just that we faked it.

In Phoenix you wear sleeveless shirts in fall colors, switch out your flip-flops for brown sandals, and drink iced pumpkin lattes.

And it’s not like I haven’t lived in areas with four seasons before, it’s just I don’t remember being wowed by the colors. When we lived in northern Arizona, the first snow came sudden-like. Shocking the leaves into a quick drop. When we lived in Iowa and Nebraska, there were too few trees to matter.

Clearly, Minnesota is hoarding all the trees.

Autumn by the river

Real or fake, I love this time of year. In truth, it’s the transition phase between the seasons I love best, and I’m thrilled to be living where it’s so apparent.

I’m not alone in my appreciation; several homes are decorated for Fall. I’m told it’s quite common for Minnesotans to have quirky lawn decorations and from what I’ve seen, it’s true. A home near us has 11 screen doors in front — eleven!

This is a permanent display and I’ve no idea how they mounted them, but I wondered if they’d add anything for the seasons. I’m pleased to report, they do:


Looking forward to seeing their Christmas display.

Our decor is more understated, but not without its admirers.

Autumn at the Hartwell's

Last Saturday when our newspaper was delivered, I saw the delivery girl taking a picture of our display.  (I wonder if we’re trending on Twitter?)

At the website for Minnesota State Parks, you can enter your email address for “color alerts.” The state park in our town, the Charles A. Lindbergh Park, is currently listed at 25% to 50% color.

I think the Hartwell Maple Tree is nearly 60%:

Maple tree

Neighbor Buddy told me not to worry about raking leaves; he’ll use his leaf blower and take care of them for the whole street. The total number of homes on the street being three.  Even so, he’s a nice guy.

(Probably a requirement for anyone named Buddy.)

In my backyard hidden among the leaves is a petunia. I didn’t plant it and there are no petunias in the vicinity. Yet there it is. A petunia.

It’s a Petunia Miracle.

I asked someone how long we’d have the color, she guessed another couple weeks.

Guess we better enjoy it while it’s here.

autumn color

Something I did in Phoenix to commemorate the seasons is to change my computer’s desktop background. My favorites pictures included curving paths, usually through woodsy areas or by rivers.

Never in my life have I lived in an area with more desktop-worthy scenes:

desktop picture

Question is, which photo do I use? Current contenders are first, second, and last pictures in this post. Your opinions are appreciated.

Meanwhile, if it’s Autumn where you are, find a pile of leaves and stomp through them with abandon.

If it’s not Autumn where you are, fake it. 🍂 🍃

Author: CJ Hartwell

After spending most of her life in Phoenix, Arizona, CJ Hartwell moved to the middle of Minnesota. Is she nuts? Probably. For updates on her sanity, click on the link to follow by email.

35 thoughts on “The Seasons, They Are A’Changin…”

    1. Sounds like Northern Arizona! I remember a few times seeing leaves change, but usually you just woke up one morning to bare trees and snow on the ground. Pretty, but alas, no autumn.
      I’m partial to the path through the trees too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Glad you are experiencing the “Minnesota Nice” with your neighbor Buddy. Great pics! I’d choose the one with the petunia peeking out for your desktop if I were you. Winter will come soon my dear, so buckle up and enjoy fall while you can 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, we’ve been most impressed with the Minnesota Nice, believe me! It’s like people around here have an attitude of, “I’m going to assume you’re good until you prove otherwise,” and they’ll give you several chances to redeem yourself if you aren’t.
      Would you believe it snowed last night? It was gorgeous! Not much stayed, but it left a nice little dusting on my pumpkins. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Phoenix … but I love Minnesota even more! I’ve been enjoying all the trees turning yellow around our apartment complex in the northern Minneapolis area.

    Hopefully next year this time we’ll have bought a house and we can get our fall decorations out! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t realize you lived in the cities! I wish you all the best finding a house you love.
      I was told fall in Minnesota is pretty, but I wasn’t prepared for how pretty. And yet people are telling me this year hasn’t been as colorful as other years. Wow! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Christi, you got a problem in front of you but a wonderful one. There is so
    much beauty that you don’t know which to choose. I vote for the one with
    the wild Petunia among the multicoloured leaves.
    I love reading this post and your neighbour Buddy is one you can export.😊


    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is just wonderful, full of color. I’ve always looked at October as the beginning of the holiday season. If you have a dog, rake some those leaves into a pile and let your dog go. They’ll have the best time leaf diving.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes we do have a dog, and she’s having a glorious time rooting around the leaves and smelling everything. Her favorite spot is the area behind our other neighbor’s garage. I’m not sure what’s over there, but the neighbor told us not to worry about it, he enjoys having her over for a visit. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Back in my Minnesota years, fall was always my favorite season. The hot, muggy days of summer were done, the mosquitos and gnats eased up, the days became crisp and the trees put on a show of color. Fortunately, we get fall colors around here too, but more in town where there are more deciduous trees – in the countryside we have a lot of conifers. Enjoy it while it lasts.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I vote for the Hartwell’s maple tree. I think it exemplifies fall colors at their finest. Over here in the Basque Country, the trees have just started to turn and the breezes blowing the leaves around are still warm and pleasant.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The photos are wonderful and I’m a bit jelly. (Sorry for using the hipster term for “jealous”, it just spilled out of me in a brief moment of trying to remain relevant in our youth-based culture.) Fall is, by far, my favorite time of the year, with all the vibrant hues and the crisp air and the magic of Halloween. Our neighborhood has tons of massive trees, and I love that moment when all of them finally release their leaves at the same time (I’m sure they coordinate this event, via social media and such), resulting in a shower of color swirling in the wind…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hipster term, forgiven.
      Trees here are stagger their drop, apparently. Maybe they don’t like to be outdone? Right now, the Hartwell Maple has as much gold on the ground as it does on the tree. Neighbor Buddy was ready to blow them away. You’ll be happy to know I stopped him. Don’t mess with Mother Nature’s beauty. Yard care be damned. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I vote for the second one as it has the fall colours, water and somewhere to sit to look at it all. I moved away from the sea (I know, what the heck, long story), but if it wasn’t for living near a big river and a canal, I couldn’t have stayed (I’m neglecting to mention the love of my life that I met here, but he would’ve just had to move away with me 😉 ). Now we have a garden to call our own, we bought a Sorbus tree called ‘Eastern Promise’. And although it’s only a baby still, its autumn colour is out of this world, I can’t stop looking at it. Hopefully next year we’ll have its pink berries too. What a beautiful part of the world you have found. And love that everyone celebrates the seasons. The damp air, the mist, the crows cawing, the smell of woodsmoke, BRING IT ON!


  9. I’m always so jealous of people who live in beautiful places with 4 seasons. Autumn here in Dallas usually comes and goes on an afternoon in early November when I’m at work.

    So if you don’t mind, I shall enjoy autumn vicariously through your blog.

    Liked by 2 people

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