Children play in a pile of autumn leaves, Rockland County, N.Y., 1953.
Children play in a pile of autumn leaves, Rockland County, N.Y., 1953.Allan Grant—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Children play in a pile of autumn leaves, Rockland County, N.Y., 1953.
Children play in a pile of autumn leaves, Rockland County, N.Y., 1953.
Allan Grant—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
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Autumn Rhythm: At Play in a Pile of Leaves

Sep 20, 2013

As we get older and further removed from childhood, witnessing—or even taking part in—the simpler pleasures of youth often evokes the sharpest, deepest memories. For those of us who grew up in places where autumn meant crisp days, cold nights, falling leaves and the slight but unmistakable change in the feel and even the look of sunlight, one activity brings it all back home: playing in a big pile of leaves.

With another autumn upon us, LIFE.com celebrates the season itself; the celestial balancing act that brings about the northern hemisphere's equinoctial moment; and the wonderful feeling of diving into a neatly constructed mound of dry, colorful, fallen leaves—and making it positively explode.

Happy fall, everyone.

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