Late Lingering Summer

12d46-cows030This is what my Oklahoma looks like in the late, late summer  when fall waits just around the bend in the gravel road. Cows graze in overgrown pastures, squared off with barbed wire fences and littered with yellow wildflowers, sunflowers, sneeze-weed, and goldenrod. Honeysuckle vines, trumpet vines, wild roses, and blackberry’s prickly bushes sprawl along the fence tops, smother posts, and climb telephone poles.

The land is flat enough here to see for a long ways over the stubbly field where corn stalks and soybeans dry to the hazy low-lying hills in the distance that surround us.

You may only see one cow in this picture but Oklahoma’s countryside is full of life. There are pastures of cattle––black and white Holstein, Texas Longhorns, red and white Herefords, milky white Charolais,  Black Angus and red, and the humpback Brahmas. Bison, like shaggy brown ghosts from the past, graze here. Sheep and goats fill smaller enclosures. Mules, donkeys and Sicilian donkeys, act as herd guardians. Horses race across the pastures, their tails flying behind them in the wind, or quietly graze––their tails lazily swatting at flies.

Herons stalk in the farm pond and egrets flollow the cows. Crows strut along, caw at the world, all of which they seem to be at odds with. Owls perch in trees that grow along the meandering creek beds. They wait for the darkness to settle in to call.

Sparrows, martins, meadowlarks, doves, quail, and prairie hens, blue birds, mockers and hummers––innumerable birds sit on fence posts, builds nests, swoop through the air, searching always for their food from God. The eagle nests in solitary craggy old trees. The hawk draws his lazy circles, not unlike the buzzard who circles searching for the dead and the dying.

The air, the grass, the flowers and the trees are full of buzzing honey bees, bumblebees, ants, cicadas, flies, gnats, ticks, wasps, worms, spiders, and hornets. Furry caterpillars creep and crawl and busy themselves about becoming moths and butterflies.

Coyotes slink across the pastures and field and down along the creek beds, like the guilty creatures they are. They wait for night to gather and howl in the moonlight––a joyous, raucous and amazing noise! Rabbits, armadillos, skunks, rodents,  bobcats, mice and rats, otters, beavers, lizards, snakes, and frogs all have their places, their spaces in this world.

Children, birds, and cowboys have stopped to gather blackberries on fence rows, Now the berries are eaten or presrved for winter cobblers. The wild plum thicket at  the ungrazed edges of pastures has long since been emptied. Wild pears and black walnuts too. Farmwives, deer, raccoons, and possums have gathered persimmons, wild grapes, pecans, and the last of garden produce.

It is not lonely or desolate––this land––it’s teeming with life, every square foot of it.

The sun that baked the land all summer now sets earlier every day sinking in gold and purple and cerise behind the humble hills. It is enough to make you want to sing out loud to the wonderful sky!

 

 

 

 

 

Buttonhole Attitude

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Begonia

The begonia on my porch is showing her true colors this week. As each tiny bead of a bud pops itself open; it uncurls into a tiny pale pink bundle like a baby girls’s soft crochetted bootie found in the cradle’s end––a tiny soft wad. Then the sun beams on it and it unfolds and becomes a whirly swirl of deep pinkness. The center is splashed with white and the stamens support pollen heads of gold.

My younger brother used to choose a flower every morning to pin to his shirtfront or pull through his buttonhole. He hoped to garner smiles and start conversations. He loved to meet new people and chat with them. He hated television which he felt robbed people of the pleasures of friendship. He longed for the days when folks sat out on their porches and greeted passersby––neighbor, friend, or stranger with a wave, a bit of talk, a “Good day”, or a tip of the hat.

I dare say one of my begonia blooms would have made him happy.  His buttonhole flower habit helped him remember that life was good and that he should enjoy every hour and every day. It reminded him to be friendly wherever he went. We could all use a vase of buds or a blooming plant around to remind us that friendliness, like my begonia, is bright with promise.

 

So Goes the Summer

_DSC8599As summer lingers with overheated days and evening thunderstorms, potted plants pine away as if they are exhausted. The porch swing is too lonely a place, yet a cat volunteers to keep me company. The air is heavy with moisture and heat. It is uncomfortable to sit outside and read; so I stay in under the air-conditioning and muddle through long days and wait for cooler days coming. I miss the out-of-doors. I want to walk and feel a breeze and hear the birds sing. Every morning, the sun comes up and pushes itself slowly across the blue dome of the sky. It sets quietly––almost apologetically––a bit earlier every day. Soon the cool weather will come. We will wear sweaters when we go buy pumpkins to set where summer plants expired. We will sip soup for supper and sleep with windows raised. I look forward, through these dog days, to autumn and the winds that will change green leaves to crimson and gold and send them fluttering to blanket the ground against winter.

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Frosty Letters

Frost edges every blade of grass;
Freezes it into a fairyland of white,
But the oak is only beginning to drop her sculpted leaves
Drop them like handwritten letters from spring
When they first popped from buds and began growing,
When they loaded the tree with leathery green
From summer when they shaded the children playing,
When a circle of day lilies circled the tree,
From autumn when they flew like flags
When we first noticed them begin to turn brown
When they rattled and fluttered and shook in the wind.
Frost trims each letter in fragile lace
Each letter has a message to deliver to winter
A letter of seasons and hope, change, and promise.

The Doorway

The Doorway

By Elece Hollis

Stand awhile and study

Each door that faces you;

Listen just a little

To the voices coming through.

Watch who passes in before,

See who passes back too.

Find out where the door may lead;

Ask their advice–please do.

Seek the mind of Jesus

Let Him guide you true,

For all the doors that open

There will not be a few,

Will change your life forever,

Determine what you’ll do,

Who’ll you become, whose life you’ll touch

Boldly step on through!