The reds, golds and burnt oranges of fall dotted the landscape all around Oak Park, River Forest and Chicago in grand fashion. A walker is draped in an autumn bath of color as she walks in Lincoln Park. Photo by J. Geil.

Forgive us if we stop and stare just one last time. A final moment to sear into our collective memory what was an autumn for the ages, burst with red, gold, orange and brown.

Each season delivers a special kind of beauty, but none possesses stop-you-in-your-tracks brilliance quite like the glow of fall in Oak Park and River Forest. It’s a time when all things seem to meld sweetly, if ever so briefly. When the crackle underfoot and rhythmic strokes of rakes blend with the chitchat of neighbors preparing for their annual hibernation. “See you next May,” they joke.

Maybe 17th-century poet John Donne penned it perfectly when he wrote, “No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace, as I have seen in one autumnal face.”

Autumn is a landscaper working in the morning chill, and a midday tide of color washing its way to the sprawling big city. It’s the one stubborn tree on your block that proudly holds its leaves while others have long been bare. It’s that peaceful stroll along a yellow leafed road and a sunset so vibrant we pause the daily grind to marvel. We admire because we know it fades as quickly as it came.

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