Thursday, October 4, 2012

Autumn Skipped Across Pennsylvania

Autumn skipped across our Pennsylvania mountains and left behind a trail of riotous color. Her hands brushed over the maples and birch, painting them shades of crimson, bronze, and rich butter-yellow. 

These are rare autumn days when the days are hot and the nights are cool, and the air is radiantly crisp and clean. Each morning, the rising sun creeps down the hills and glades, stretching itself in a lazy yawn, chasing away the fog, and turning trails and byways into a wondrous delight. 

 Along our paths and pastures, blue aster, goldenrod, and Queen Anne’s lace nod their heads while sumac stands boldly in a blaze of red. Beside our homes, marigolds and chrysanthemums defy the first frosts. If we’re lucky, that last rose of the season clings to its stalk and sends up a sweet memory of summer past.
These are days when we can hear the cry of the geese as they wing southward, the rustle of dried leaves beneath our feet, and the noisy crows in the cornfields. The drone of the bees gathering that last bit of summer nectar warns us the days will be shorter and the nights longer. Yet, we can’t help but embrace the soothing hum of crickets and night insects that lull us to sleep each night. 

Autumn has walked across our Pennsylvania mountains and spilled out all the seasonal smells like a rich perfume. This is time when red-cheeked apples and sweet wood smoke give off a familiar fragrance that is a harbinger of things to come. We can smell the earth—the dried cornstalks, the pungent aroma of woods and pine, and the musky scent of pumpkins and gourds. Along the fences, grapes on withering vines fill the air with an earthy bouquet.

But there’s a certain sadness to autumn. It’s a warning that the year is ending, that we’re  growing older and we’re maturing. It is a time to contemplate the reason for our being and for our purpose. It’s a time to be thankful for our lives, to re-evaluate our errors, to realign our goals, and to strive towards that which makes us happy . . . and our world a sweeter place.