I walk up just in time to hear the oldest say this to the youngest. The youngest nods, meanders back to his place in the sun, hunkers down with trucks, sticks, and sand. He coughs once, and the oldest and I both flinch, then wait to see if he coughs again.
When he doesn't, I turn to the oldest. "How? How do you know fall is coming?" I ask.
He points to the magnolia tree. "The grenade things start to turn pink. After that the red eye seeds come out. Then they lose their fur, and after that is when you can throw them."
It's not the most scientific description I've ever heard, but still, I'm proud. My observant, imaginative, wonderful boy.