Blogger Brittany Cooper reminisces about the autumns of her childhood, growing up in Indiana, where bonfires, apple picking and spectacular natural colors paint the season.
Looking back now, I realize that even the most lovely pieces of one’s childhood fade into the background of normal at the time. I’ve never lived by the ocean, but I assume that if you do, you don’t know that other children don’t go swimming on a daily basis–that is, until you move away and notice the absence of salt in the air.
Growing up in the heart of Indiana, I often rued the reality that I couldn’t get to the ocean without a long car trip and that the nearest piece of topography that could be even mildly considered “mountainous” was not located anywhere in the state. But all through my lamentations on the limited landscape, I missed the subtle beauty that crept into our Midwestern state each year around the beginning of October.
Indiana comes alive in the fall. I love the weather in the South–the mild winters of Tennessee and the early spring in Alabama–but in my opinion, no other state can hold a candle to Indiana during autumn. As the trees take on their vibrant reds, yellows and oranges and the cornfields are bare after the harvest, Indiana becomes the iconic picture of autumn.
It’s the vintage barns keeping watch over the empty fields, the bonfires swirling smoke into the air, which you can see from a mile away because the land is so flat. I remember visiting apple orchards and filling baskets with fresh Indiana apples and then making applesauce with my mom to freeze and enjoy over the winter. Some of those apples would be set aside to be coated in caramel and eaten from a stick.
Of course I know it now–that not every kid grows up with a barn or has weekly bonfires with s’mores and cider or gets to drive past field after field encompassed by trees of seemingly every color. No, I know now–now that I’ve moved away and have to drive back to visit–that these were the little beauties of my childhood. And for them I’m thankful.