Sutter: Fall’s reflections in life |

Sutter: Fall’s reflections in life

Ryan Sutter
Vail CO, Colorado

It always happens so fast. Barely detectable and certainly not obvious, fall blows in quietly on a late summer night’s breeze. Once here it’s arrival is unmistakable. The air feels different. Each breath that fills the lungs carries within it a sensation incapable of classification. It isn’t really an odor, you can’t see or touch it, but it is there.

It’s presence signals change. The nights grow longer, the mornings cooler. There is urgency in nature as wildlife prepare for the coming winter. The vibrant gold of the aspen leaves contrast with the dazzling blue of the crisp, clear sky. Occasionally a light snow blankets the high peaks accentuating the already brilliant landscape.

As the frost shines on the few remaining petals of green grass, the Rockies provide us with summer’s grand finale and reminds us that winter is not far.

Life is not unlike the fall, each individual existence a season unto itself. When life begins there is change, something new and different for all involved. As we progress through it our leaves change, shine brilliantly and lend beauty to the world. Time continues to pass as our leaves begin shedding, falling to the earth in the form of knowledge and experience, kindness and compassion. It is this process, these leaves that provide the nourishment necessary to insure the growth of healthy new trees and insure that new seasons follow old.

Like each fall that passes through the Rockies, each life on earth is unique. Some fall shorter than others, some shine more brightly. This summer I have seen the birth of my own child and the beginning of a new season of life.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

As a community we have seen the tragic side of life in the untimely death of one of our most caring and special members. The birth of my son, Max and the death of Rebecca Yarberry both serve as reminders of life’s fragile nature and our individual roles in the process. On the one hand each of us has only this single life on earth, one opportunity to live our lives as we imagine they should be lived and no guarantee as to just how long we will have. On the other hand we have a responsibility to future generations. We must be accountable for the future and insure that each lifetime that follows ours is filled with the same opportunity, excitement and hope that each of us has been given by our predecessors.

As the final touches of gold vanish from the hills and the fall season gives way to early winter, as crisp gives way to cold and sunlight yields to starlight, as we look forward to the coming months and a future filled with hopes of big snow and blue sky let us not forget the fall. In its memory exists both triumph and tragedy. Its brilliant display of color gives witness to both end and beginning. It is a testament to the systems of nature that provide inspiration for today and hope for tomorrow.

Fall is season and symbol, an example and a philosophy. It is a lesson to us all that life is meant for living. Each day, each moment to its fullest, with the understanding that though we may live each day like there is no tomorrow, we must also live like there is.

Ryan Sutter of Avon writes a biweekly column for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at

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