This is my ninth (NINTH?????) autumn in Texas.
Still, I'm a bit slow on the uptake as I admire the seasonal
changes happening around me.
(Autumn has always been my favorite, after all.)
Mexican Mint Marigolds are thick with yellow blooms.
Grass is no longer green but has turned to tan.
Leaves are turning shades of gold and red
and starting to fall.
The crispness in the morning air invigorates me
and just this morning I noted a thin film of frost on the ground.
My heart cries out, "Autumn! Harvest!" and I rush to the kitchen to chop vegetables for a big pot of soup before searching the closet for a soft blanket to add to the linens on the bed before evening.
All these activities are natural and soothing to my soul.
Autumn connected with me for many years while living
in the North Country of upstate New York.
Changes like these seen out the windows spoke to me of
the start of school,
covering the last garden survivors before chilling nights,
drawing inside earlier in the deepening twilight,
collecting fresh hay to warm the rabbits' hutch,
raking pine needles,
digging out the winter clothing and linens from summer storage then hanging them on the old clothesline to refresh them in the sparkling fresh air,
the sound of Jack's ax as he split the wood that would warm us in the months ahead,
walking in the orchards in search of "dropped" MacIntosh apples that the pickers had left and biting into their crispy tartness, juice trickling down our chins.
Autumn events such as these filled September days and lingered into October.
During the warm weeks of summer, our lives centered outside on the porch, in the pool,
or under the trees.
Noisy, lively days of late bedtimes, lax schedules and picnics.
When the lonely calls of the Canada geese replaced the robins' warble, our family patterns tilted with the earth. We moved inside, both physically and emotionally.
I always welcomed that pulling inward of our family;
the old house felt safe and sheltering in the earlier twilight evenings.
Autumn gave us the gift of a few months of reflection.
But, in Texas the arrival of fall--and I mean the red leaves and chill
and goodbyes to the hummingbirds--
defies my internal calendar!
I have but a moment to admire the golden glow in the trees because the calendar on the wall shocks me into reality!
So do the holly berries right out my front door!
They have just changed to bright red.
Red Holly! Oh, wait--that's right!?
They tell me it's time to pack away the pumpkins and fall decorations
and get out the Christmas ones.
Autumn barely arrives in time for the Christmas season in Central Texas.
And so my befuddled brain tries to decide where to hang the lights as I linger
by the geranium at the front door.
Pink and lovely, how DO I fit this pot into our Christmas trimmings?
(I don't think I'll ever get used to this.)