Holding tightly to one of the last great afternoons of fall

The end of my school day was just moments away and I was itching to get outside to enjoy a really great fall afternoon.

I had ridden my bike to school that morning in a hovering fog that clung to the hill between my Limekiln Lake home and our little school perched over Fifth Lake.

The trees—in full colorful splendor—were shielded in the mist.

It was one of those days when any self-respecting sixth grader would rather spend time looking out the window than writing a short essay.

As I filed out of the building with the other children I was hit square in the face by the perfect smell of fall.

I snapped up the kickstand of my bike and landed on the seat.

I was only twenty yards up the road before I veered off on the foot trail to the Fifth Lake carry.

I bumped down the shady path trying to dodge as many big rocks as I could.

I liked this little area as it led to an old iron bridge that crossed the creek between Fifth and Sixth Lakes.

The locals called the bridge the Jap Day Bridge, but I just knew it as a lonely iron bridge that was great to climb on, under and around.

I ditched my bike at the foot of the bridge and tested my skills in rock hopping.

I slowly made my way up the creek from sunlit pool openings to shore and then back out to mid-stream wherever my path was easiest.

Along the shore there were a lot of old rusty relics. It was as if the people there had just left one day and the forest took it over.

As I made my way back I went underneath the bridge.

I firmly planted both hands on a huge iron beam and began swinging myself. My sneakers were just inches above the  flowing water.

I suspended myself until my arms started to give out, then swung back to shore.

I noticed that my palms were covered in rust so went to the creek to give them a swish.

Perched at the edge of the creek, I squatted down and slowly put my palms on the surface of the water.

The rusty orange color swirled away and mixed with the many bright leaves bobbing up and down in the flow.

The time had come to start my long two-mile ride back home.

As I headed back, the sound of the water and the smell of wet shore gradually faded away on that perfect fall day.

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