Sunday was, wasn't it? Brisk, breezy, clear. The leaves, orange, golden, and red, dropping off trees, making a skittering tap-tap-tap as the wind blew them across the sidewalks and into the streets.
I went running this morning, diverting from the Lafayette-Moraga trail into some of the older neighborhoods in and around downtown Lafayette.
These are neighborhoods with cozy cottages and bungalows, built pre- or post-World War II.
Moraga Boulevard, between Carol Lane and Moraga Road, always makes me think of a setting you'd find in an old 1950s or 1960s TV show, something lifted from a Universal Studio set. Classic, comfortable, prosperous, but not too ostentatious American homes on a wide, quiet street--fronted by lawns and lovingly tended gardens, and sheltered by big old trees.
Moraga Boulevard and the surrounding streets, with their houses, some idiosyncratic and funky, are especially pretty this time of year, with their trees bursting with the colors of fall.
By the way, who says that California doesn't have seasons? It's those natives of the East Coast and the Midwest. Well, I lived in Chicago for four years when I went to college. Sure, they have seasons, pretty overt ones (hot muggy summers; 80-below winters).
Meanwhile, a native Californian like me, and like many of you, I suppose, has learned to discern and appreciate the way our seasons change in subtle, delicate ways. Even in September, when it might still be 90 degrees out, I can still breathe in a changing scent in the air, filled with the aroma of damp and earth and oak and leaves. The sunlight also begins to change, a subtle changing of its slant in the sky, like someone shifting it to a lower spot in the room while slightly dimming its wattage.
I love days like this. On these days, life is good--especially after a run through those quintessential suburban streets of Lafayette, next door to my hometown of Walnut Creek. That crisp air filling my lungs and filling me with a sense of, yes, optimism. And, yes, a sense of gratitude, that I get to live in a place like this.