Kicking through the leaves

One more thing to love about autumn in New Hampshire, as if there weren’t enough already: playfully shuffling and kicking my way through the fallen leaves.

I recently arrived in The Big City (well, big for New Hampshire) for a long-booked three-hour business appointment, only to find it had been cancelled due to a broken piece of equipment. I understood the situation but was miffed nonetheless. Then it occurred to me that with three open hours ahead, I could probably find a decent trail nearby.

Epping was only a few miles away, with its piece of the Rockingham Recreational Trail that I hadn’t yet explored. Off I went. I found a small pullout at the trail crossing on Depot Road, just off Rt. 101.

Rail trail, autumn scene, New Hampshire, with marker for old bridge along railroad
Rockingham Recreational Trail, Epping, New Hampshire. The marker indicates the former site of a railroad bridge along the route. Photos by Ellen Kolb.

Fall colors are weeks past. Leaves are down. It’s all quite low-key, which is actually perfect for recovering from a moment of being miffed at a blown appointment.

The trail was covered with crisp dried leaves that rustled with my every step. At some spots, the wind had piled them up. And so I did something I never had a chance to do back when I was a kid in south Florida, and something I used to get annoyed at my own kids for doing after a wearying session of raking: I kicked the pile. I made a racket. Those leaves flew into the air.

It felt great. I had fun. And when I found other piles, I kicked through those, too. I was alone, so I wasn’t worried about looking silly. Pretty soon, I was downright grateful for the busted thingamajig that had caused cancellation of my appointment.

Go ahead. Find yourself a leafy late-fall trail, and send those leaves flying.

Wetland along Rockingham Recreational Trail, autumn, Epping NH.

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