November 1, 2007

My Autumn Idyll

I've been meaning to write this for a few weeks. Has anyone else noticed just how beautiful the autumn has been this year? Every time I drive out to speech practice, my breath is taken away (and not just because my car hasn't been vacuumed out lately!). The leaves are all in blankets on lawns, their colors are bright and the rain hasn't smushed them all into goo lately. (While I have a poet's soul at this particular season, I'm still not a poetic writer :-) ).

Of course, it helps to have little people in the back seat, so I can point out the birds jumping off the wires along the country roads as we get close. And we have a permanent livestock watch along one particular road; it is a sad, sad day when neither the cows nor the sheep nor the "horsey" are out eating in the fields.

Every day, I feel again that we live in a Thomas Kinkade painting. The quality of light on sunny days is such that everything seems drawn sharply in relief; on misty moisty days, the smudges are all the more startling because of their vibrant colors.

It's entirely possible that I am prejudiced: I grew up here, and have always loved this countryside. And, of course, fall is the best time to be alive. I've always been a taking-stock sort of person, and so there's something metaphysical that I love about everyone being forced inside--literally and figuratively--as the weather gets colder. In agriculture, this is when farmers total up the harvest; gardeners are generally already thinking of next year's plans (and if they're on the ball, getting beds ready now when you can actually work the soil.)

Brief forays out into the weather are exhilarating now: the wind seems to mean it, somehow, in a way it doesn't in the summer. The smells speak to me, too; I've always thought that if I were blindfolded and plunked down somehow in an unknown time, I would be able to tell if it were fall just from that strange combination: wood smoke, leaf mould, cold air (it does have a smell!), turned earth.

Apparently, I am actually part squirrel, because I love having a full larder much more in the fall. It is a safe, secure feeling to know that we have lots of food options available without having to go anywhere.

And finally, autumn seems to be a time of redemption, at least in Nature's hands. For instance, there is a hideous house down the street. It is the most bilious shade of green imaginable, and every time I see it--the rest of the year--I think, "hooooooey! You know, it has nothing going for it architecturally (it is a "whatever cottage", i.e. a non-descript square with no distinguishing characteristics), but they could at least change the paint color!". But now....now, its one charm is revealed. There are three trees in a beautifully Japanese proportion in its front yard--big, medium, and a small weeping one--and they are all the same stunning shade of vermillion right now. Was it planned by someone who had more taste, some time years before, or just a happy accident? Either way, it always makes me smile, and not mind the eyesore the rest of the year.

Somehow I look for a similar redeeming quality in my fellows in the fall. Faced with such beauty, who could help it?

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