It is a sparkling fall day with the air crisp and exhilarating. Gone are yesterday’s gray clouds, replaced by October’s golden sunshine. Autumn is strolling
leisurely through our hills, taking her time as she climbs each mountain peak, crosses over each ravine, and travels up each little hollow. She brushes against a climbing woodbine, and the leaves blush a delicate crimson. The dreaded poison ivy vine is a thing of beauty as its leaves turn to red and yellow when she passes by. She glances at the dogwood and sourwood trees, and their red color begins to gleam.
As she crosses the creeks and streams, she pauses to admire the wild asters with their yellow eyes, and the flashy jewelweed glittering with orange and yellow earrings. Fat seedpods pop open at her gentle touch, assuring next spring’s crop of touch-me-not flowers.
Autumn looks up at the hilltops where the yellow is beginning to show on the poplars, sweet gum and hickory trees. She sighs, as her work is just beginning. Already some of the maples are showing red and yellow leaves, but all of the leaves in the woods must be changed before winter arrives.
She has already sent most of the songbirds winging their way southward, as the days grow shorter and colder. The katydids chant a slower litany now, while the crickets sing all day long. Soon their mournful melody will be stilled by the approaching frost and cold.
Over the shoulders of the hilltops, autumn places a covering of early morning mist, and fills the coves and hollows with heavy fog. Then she beckons the midmorning sun to drive away the mist, and allows bright sunbeams to warm the earth. As she wanders through the woods, she touches the paw paws, and they blacken and fall to the ground. She turns the tart persimmon to sweet goodness, and orders the prickly chestnut burrs to release their satin nuts. The black walnuts and hickory nuts follow suit, and drop to the brown leaves beneath the trees.
A restless breeze is summoned by a slight wave of her hand, and it flutters through the leaves in the tall sycamore trees. She smiles as a gray squirrel flips his tail and scampers up a poplar tree, his cheeks bulging with acorns. He has heeded autumn’s warning and is stocking up his food supply for the winter. Frost has been called to steal through the night shadows to cover every living plant and flower in white. He brings sure death to the tender, growing things, but autumn is not perturbed as she knows that in the spring they will come forth and flower again.
No matter how many fall seasons have unfolded before my eyes, it is ever a new, exciting experience. I love this glorious panorama of beauty that blesses the eye and feeds the soul. October is here, and she fills my heart to bursting.
When the morning sun breaks through the autumn mist and shines down upon our mellow hills, my heart is filled with thanksgiving to the Maker of all this beauty. How wonderful and marvelous are the works of his hands, and how he has blessed us with his goodness. I am so thankful for the ability to climb these ever-changing hills, for eyes that can see the beauty of nature, for ears that can hear the saucy chatter of a squirrel or the lonesome cry of a whippoorwill as it bids a last goodbye.
Tell everyone I said, “Hello”, and give them a big hug for me.
Cousin Alyce Faye
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