My absolute favorite time of year is autumn as the trees slowly transform and show their true colors. Suddenly, rather than shades of green, the landscape bursts into bits of yellow, red and orange for a brief and wonderful moment in time. Of course, soon after, the leaves will drop along with the temperatures, but for now, there’s just a gorgeous burst of color against a blue sky. As a kid, I remember the exhilarating feeling of jumping into a pile of leaves, the crackling sound and earthy smell were so wonderful. Today, of course, I’m just thankful to live in the city and not have a yard so I don’t have to rake them. But sometimes when I drive past people’s houses with little piles of freshly raked leaves, I have to resist the urge not to pull over and jump into them. I never do it though. I’m rather sure the owners of said house would not be particularly amused at my trip down memory lane.
Instead of jumping into the leaves of strangers, I satisfied my inner child by taking him to the zoo today. It was a beautiful day, and Philippe had never visited our zoo here and I hadn’t been in years. The best part of the experience is that the Kansas City Zoo is spread out over 202 acres (82 ha) so beyond the animals, you end up going on a lovely nature hike. I’m not sure I’d ever been to the zoo this time of year before, but walking through colorful trails of autumn leaves made for a perfectly awesome day. The zoo has grown and changed dramatically from when I was a kid. Back then, it was a fraction of the size, but still seemed gigantic since I was so small. Now that it’s grown up with me, it’s become impressively large, so I experienced no disappointment on my return today.
A highlight of our tour was seeing koala bears, which are on loan to us from the San Diego Zoo this season. They’re just adorable and have the sort of lazy lifestyle that I really envy. They were in the kids section, but that didn’t stop us from going to see them. The line was far to long, however, to get our faces painted, so we skipped that and simply had a beer. But my favorite part was winding through trail after trail, enclosed by trees that had been beautifully painted by nature. Crackling leaves on the ground and a beautiful canopy of color over our heads. The occasional cheetah or chimpanzee was definitely a treat, but nothing beats a slow walk through nature’s painting in the colors of autumn leaves.