On The Appreciation of Autumn.

I had a doctor’s appointment first thing Monday morning, so the kids spent the prior night with my parents. On the way to pick them up, I stopped by the outlet mall to buy some shoes. And the trees in the parking lot were marvelous.

Outlet Shops of Grand River Fall Trees

They inspired me. I decided that a Fall Foliage Field Trip was absolutely in order. After all, it was a school day, but it was far too magnificent outside to do bookwork.

So I picked the kids up and we took a driving tour of the St. Clair County mountain [hill] ridges – all just 25 minutes outside of Birmingham.

Birmingham Alabama Fall Colors

Our windows were down so that we could hear the crunching of leaves under the tires and the migrating birds overhead.

Birmingham Alabama Fall Colors

I attempted to pit my children against each other with statements such as, “Who can find the brightest colored tree?”

Birmingham Alabama Fall Colors

And, “Who can spot the next pretty sight?”

Birmingham Alabama Fall Colors

We passed pastures,

Birmingham Alabama Fall Colors

Barns,

Birmingham Alabama Fall Colors

Ponds,

Birmingham Alabama Fall Colors

More pastures,

Birmingham Alabama Fall Colors

Houses with sunset views that made me treacherously envious,

Birmingham Alabama Fall Colors

Paths leading to seemingly nowhere but with beauty everywhere,

Birmingham Alabama Fall Colors

Neighborhoods that city life can only dream of emulating,

Birmingham Alabama Fall Colors

Houses that looked far too modern and architectural to be hidden in the middle of the woods,

Birmingham Alabama Fall Colors
Stunning ridge views,

Birmingham Alabama Fall Colors

And endless metamorphosing trees.

Birmingham Alabama Fall Colors

I didn’t make our educational adventure into any sort of formal learning experience – we didn’t identify a single tree or discuss why leaves change colors. It was simply an appreciation day for God’s creation.

Birmingham Alabama Fall Colors

As a bonus for Noah, we even got to go through a tunnel – one of the narrowest tunnels in Alabama – and perhaps the only tunnel that still has its own phone booth.

Chula Vista Tunnel


Chula Vista Tunnel

And if you’re wondering what the children thought of this sublime school-substitution gift from their loving mother,

they were bored, underwhelmed, and begging to go home.

Grumpy Kids

Just like I was when my homeschooling parents used to pull this same kind of crap.

Grumpy Kids

But perhaps it subliminally snuck into their little brains, as apparently did my many childhood rides down country roads, and just maybe one day they’ll subject their kids to the same sort of glorious torture.