THE FROG POND - October Skies

(10/08/2002)

The Stewart Family

By Suzanne Mazer Stewart
MSZFROGGIE@aol.com

Autumn happens to be my favorite season of the year. Everything seems somehow more intense, more vibrant, in the Fall. Spring has its soft flurry of re-growth and rebirth. Summer is slow, long and lazy. Its haziness and heat weigh heavy upon the soul. Winter, with its crisp whiteness and blue-gray cold, passes in a hushed quiet. Fall, it appears to me, is a little bit more alive, more moving.

The October sky over the hills and hollows is a much brighter, brilliant blue. I've spent Autumn in the Midwest, and in the Northeast. I've never seen the colors of our Appalachian Autumn sky anywhere else. Perhaps it is the mountains. Perhaps it is just God's little gift to us hill dwellers. If you've never experienced it, you can't truly appreciate it. Photographs don't do it justice.

We've had just enough of a chill in the morning air lately to cause the maple by the driveway to acquire the slightest hint of its upcoming glory. Some of the smallest, up-most leaves are showing off their vermilion and scarlet. The full bloom of color won't come about until after the first frost, but those few tiny hands waving near the top of the branches are a wonderful promise of things to come.

The cornstalks are being stacked in their rows. The round and robust pumpkins are ready for the picking; for turning into pie crusts and porch goblins. The last of the Summer's bounty is being harvested and housed. Rows of brightly colored jars line the pantry shelves, ready to bring a taste of warmer times to the winter's dinner table.

The squirrels and chipmunks are frantic in their gathering in, too. The groundhog along the roadside couldn't possibly get any fatter, could he? The bunnies that plagued my garden all Summer are now venturing out further in search of that last morsel before the long, cold, barren months of snow and ice. Even the dog and cat are shedding Summer's cooler, finer coat in favor of Winter's heavier, warmer fur. Every one of God's creatures, it seems, is lively, busily preparing for Wintertime.

The Autumn has also brought the refreshment of rain. Summer's long, hot dry spell has been broken. Once more, the creek is singing as it flows along. Once more, the shingles sing out their song in the night. The rain's washing cleans the dust of Summer's dry off the flowers, the roads, the sidewalks. Nature's Fall housecleaning is in full action.

Soon, the leaves will crunch underfoot as we take our walks. Soon, the smell of apples baking and saucing and buttering will fill our house. Soon, pumpkin pies and rolls will be readying for the holidays soon, too, to come. Soon, the hills will be covered in the glorious patchwork of reds, golds, oranges, browns and greens. Soon, all too soon, it will be over and Winter's gray and white will the fashion.

Perhaps Autumn is so bright, so vibrant, so alive, to give us something to remember during the long cold months to follow. Perhaps, just perhaps, God puts the Earth to bed for Winter's long night under the colorful quilt of Autumn's leaves and the fairy-tale blue of October's skies.


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