Autumn Afield

The sun setting over the water runs like a golden thread through the needle that sews the seasons into the quilt of the year.

The days are shorter in the fall. Trees daily losing their leaves, flowers fading, grass turning brown. Soon all becomes brown and barren, looking and worse with all the junk and problems of farms, barns, and houses becoming visible. No screen of green hides the ugly and stained. No grass filled ditches hide the litter unscrupulous persons toss from their open car windows. All is open to see and to injure the soul through the eye. What is that? An old couch and some mattresses turned out along the road. A junky piece of old useless auto or a broken down appliance. So junk becomes landscape.

Winter otherwise gives us the beauties of bare trees and scrubs where I see shapes, outlines, silhouettes and statuary which summer had hidden. The blackbirds in their swirling flocks pass up, around , and down and it is a wonder to watch them––like poetry on the wind.

Snow and ice is rare here but when it comes it is as often followed the next day by bright sunlight we are dazzled by the glowing glittery glory of it.

The best of the season is waking to the smell of the woodstove fire and the scent of strong arabica coffee. The evenings we spend sitting back by the woodstove, its door propped open so we can hear the crackle and sizzle of the wood burning. Conversation flows or we sit and I read aloud while Ron cracks out pecans for the holiday baking. The wood and ashes are messy, but the wood fires loved by all who visit because of the warmth and friendliness of it.

Autumn is not a long season here. It comes in late with October’s harvest moons and the Monarch butterflies’ migration from northern places to the south side of Mexico. It gives us windy wet days to harvest pumpkins, apples, and pears. It allows two or threes days to enjoy open windows and the absence of summer heat. Then autumn turns chill and cloudy and the days shorter and shorter. Wham––cold! Winter is sudden yet we know we will have warm days interspersed and what we call Indian summer.

We know that the crocus blooms and daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips will soon follow. Our winter lasts no longer than spring and we will find ourselves welcoming summer back with its wind and waves of heat.

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