Death of a Season. That’s the title rolling around in my head for the past few days. It sounded too much like Death of a Salesman, so I nixed it, but when I look around, it seems the most appropriate thing to use. The raging golds and flaming reds are all gone, the autumn glory burst and fizzled, now only dry and faded waste on the ground. Or so it would seem if you’ve never experienced the crunchy delight of kicking through mounds and layers and piles and windrows of dried leaves. It’s truly the most glorious of all childhood pastimes – as long as you live in a place without fleas, which I do. There’s nothing amongst the detritus to bite you, make you itch, or cause regret; nothing but the pure, unadulterated, snap-crackle-pop-crispness of fall. When the sun is out, I can’t resist a little iPhone photography. It’s nothing great, to be sure, but it’s spontaneously affordable and worth the price. Winter light is scarce and rare, and while spectacular in its own right, is not as brazen as the hussy, Autumn. But back to the leaves. I distinctly remember playing in piles of dried matter in the early 1970s. We lived in the Aurora subdivision off Fairbanks’ College Avenue. Back then, ours was a mixed neighborhood, meaning there was a full dog team tied down the street, a travel trailer beyond that, and a slough the kids skated on in winter. Scattered among what you might find in inner city ghettos or remote bush villages were stick-built houses with yards, fences, driveways, even garages. Our back yard was wonderful because it was big enough for the badminton net, pickups filled with shot-dead moose and caribou and other frozen-stiff things, but the best part was an old playhouse. It had to be built purposely as a playhouse because the windows were perfect height for a 12-year-old, and the doorway made grown-ups stoop to enter. I nailed boards together for shelves, put old rags up for curtains, and found crates for furniture. I remember playing out in a crisp, autumn evening, so cold my fingers were stiff, savoring the last warmth before temperatures plunged to the minus degrees. All around were leaves, drifting down from the branches above, scattered across the driveway, layered thick and deep beneath the trees. The aroma of decay and frost, hard dirt and ripened cranberries perfumed the air, and there was no better place for a kid to play after school, especially one with an imagination honed on skinning wild game, soaring through the mountains in small planes, and riding snowmachines in Creamer’s Field. Childhood memories become adult dreams, at once gathered and pursued, fulfilled and lived over. As much as I like the abundance of summer, the heat and long days and endless exploring and accomplishment, fall is the time of living, dreaming, looking ahead. Some see death of a season. I see life, past and present, the future ready to be born again. Take a deep breath, go rustle something up in yourself; get to living.