The days of my life are inscribed in autumn’s diary; the leaves are pages burnished by experiences: some fiery red, some golden yellow, some mellow green, some dull brown.

Death, love, self-awareness, loneliness, moments of decision, moments of spiritual joy — all are tossed in amongst the leaves. And as I rake them up and watch my own children roll and laugh in them, time seems as fragile as the dry leaves that crumble beneath their feet.

Nature closes out her annual show with a crimson climax and the world is most beautiful in its “death throes.” But nothing really dies. Just the forms change. And the autumn leaves become winter’s mulch and new soil for young plants in a spring to come.

And the child I was, the girl I became and the woman I am growing to be can all be found in the leaves of autumn.

I have had the good fortune to witness this year’s autumn splendor with loved ones in the mountains of New York State. Not only were the colors clear and brilliant but the very air was alive with loving vibrations. God was truly with us among the white pines, the poplars, the maples and the birch, when the deer and the doe hesitantly grazed in the lower field, as the wild geese wedged across the sky, in gentle evenings of quiet conversation, over the hammock filled with giggling children, and in the silence of the star-pierced night.

Kitchen aromas are particularly delightful in autumn. And here are two seasonal recipes which should evoke your own autumnal memories:

Sweet Potato-Cranberry Bake

3 med. size sweet potatoes
2 tart apples
1 cup whole cranberries
¼ cup water
½ tspn. salt
½ cup honey
3 tblspns. butter

Wash potatoes, apples and cranberries. Cut sweet potatoes into chunks. Core apples and cut into eighths. Combine first five ingredients in a well-buttered casserole dish. Dot with butter. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes with the cover on, then for 10 minutes uncovered to reduce the liquid.

Cranberry-Pineapple-Walnut Relish

1 cup whole, washed cranberries
1 15 oz. can pineapple chunks “in its own juice”
½ cup chopped walnuts

Stir cranberries, pineapple and nuts together. Grind half the mixture in the blender and then mix back in with the whole cranberries. Add honey to taste.