Autumn is coming. Even without a calendar, some signs provide hints. The days are getting noticeably shorter, hummingbirds are tanking up to fly south, and the wind out of the west feels different. …
Autumn is coming. Even without a calendar, some signs provide hints. The days are getting noticeably shorter, hummingbirds are tanking up to fly south, and the wind out of the west feels different. Soon we’ll be singing “California Dreaming” along with the Mamas and Pappas – “All the leaves are brown, leaves are brown, and the sky is gray.”
When I was a kid in Sloss Hollow, there were different signs that summer was ending.
The high school was a few miles away. Toward the end of summer, the Bulldog Marching Band began to practice each afternoon. I remember hearing the sound of drums and tubas echoing through the hollows.
I learned that those drums meant that my days of running barefoot and half-naked were numbered. For that reason alone, I dreaded autumn.
The chores that time of year were no picnic either. Raking leaves as a kid was a form of parental torture. I think I would have preferred going to the dentist and having him jab a needle the size of a kindergarten pencil into my gums.
The years have changed the way I view the season. These days, I look forward to the early signs of autumn. This week I began noticing the signals.
Jilda leaves early on Thursdays for work. After she left, I decided to take the dogs for a walk. On the first lap of the walk, I noticed that the tulip poplar trees were dropping their leaves. Their color is a shade of yellow, almost the color of homemade ice cream.
Behind the barn, there is a hickory tree thick with muscadine vines. When I walked around the barn, the ground was covered in wild purple grapes. I picked a fat one up and shined it on my pant leg. The memory just now made my mouth water.
Last summer we put a bench down in front of the old house and the barn. It sits facing toward the sunset under the shade of an ancient oak that someone planted over a hundred years ago. We named it the thinking bench. On the last lap, I sat for a while on the thinking bench.
Closing my eyes, I listened for tree frogs or cicadas. They weren’t droning yet, but when I looked at a nearby pine, I noticed a poison ivy vine as thick a rope that weaved its way up into the upper branches. The leaves were turning crimson. I’d love to have a car that color.
College football starts this weekend, and all that implies.
Soon, the holidays will come tumbling toward us. Jilda and I ran into a store recently, and they were already putting out Christmas items next to the Halloween section.
I’m not sure about you, but I like doing my holidays one at a time, and I don’t like skipping over Thanksgiving just because it has less commercial appeal to the big-box stores.
The older I get, the more I want to hold and suck the marrow out of every day. Life is too short not to enjoy each and every day.
Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book Life Goes On is available on Amazon.com. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.