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Autumn

In to the Wind

October 16, 2013
By Mike Gilchrist , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

I have half a notion to kick the partially lame big yellow dog. If I awaken her now, she might be tired for the time I must sleep. Instead, I refrain; she will keep the demons at bay along the lane, and keep her vigil for denizens not seen by me, but spied, smelled and heard by her.

Even the partially lame, large yellow dog knows the season is nigh. Positioned in the lane under the harvest moon, she wails her answer to the coyotes who also wail their song, their anthem, their signal to all who will listen that the winter solstice is right around the corner.

If life were easy, there would be too many coyotes, or for that matter, too many partially lame big yellow dogs. Without her diligence, there would be more coyotes closer to me. We can't be ever vigilant ourselves for unseen perils. Sometimes we need that partially lame big yellow dog. I'll leave the sleeping dog lie; restless sleep is a small price to pay for her diligence.

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I strive to make my writing emotionally autobiographical. One day I will succeed. And in the meantime, I will continue to fracture the language; bear with me.

I've traded the Birkenstocks for Timberlands. Many of the short sleeved Henleys have been stowed at the back of the closet, and long sleeved ones brought to the front.

Vests and light jackets hang at the ready. I have my eye on that down coat, and the long underwear has been located. No sock days have become light sock days. Wool socks have worked their way up from the bottom of the drawer to near the top.

New gloves have been purchased and already soiled by the toils of fall. A wood pile too short beckons and prods the homesteader to action.

We have been robbed of the colorful splendor of autumn some years past. Not so this year. Crimson and gold, yellow and orange, a too warm, too dry summer has advanced to a certain autumnal splendor.

Seasons change, and so do I. So do you. So does the world around us.

This is the time for the harvest, and the swarming of the Japanese beetles displaced in the field by the combine. Tractors pulling grain wagons cause a delay in trips to town.

Overhead in the darkness of the predawn morning, signs of the winter sky foretell the change of season. Orion and the Pleiades usher in the season.

Autumn is the hunting season, and a time to gather. The last goods from the garden will be harvested and enjoyed.

Autumn is the championship season too for certain sports.

School busses kick up a storm of dust on the gravel, as they spirit the children off to school, where they can only dream of the summer which has been.

Clutches of wildflowers and stands of tall weeds dry back to bouquets presenting their splendor and nod in the wind a certain knowing that a change is coming and the warmest days have been seen.

Like a theater of nature, certain change is on the horizon.

After a multitude of days, where nothing particularly spectacular happened, the vibrancy of fall beckons and titillates those who know what follows into seasonal action.

Squirrels wily enough to locate a distance from the house, and the jaws of the dogs, busy themselves with their autumnal tasks. Nuts must be hidden, and a winter coat must be donned.

Two years without walnuts finds the trees dropping them like little green balls littering the yard at the timber's edge. A walk along this edge causes uneven footing. They also push the squirrels into a busy frenzy.

Puffballs grow from a golf ball sized orb to soccer ball size, seemingly overnight.

The sun rises later and sets earlier. Even this change is obvious to the oblivious.

Even the hardy stinging nettles have been beaten back and wilted by the chilly nighttime air. Soon, an unfettered view into the bowels of the timber will offer the dreamer vistas hidden since spring. Trails blazed and maintained by wily deer will be readily apparent.

A once causal glance out the window has changed to an observant stare, as first one then another splash of color is apparent to a once dispassionate observer.

The smells of cookies baking in the oven, apple cider and cinnamon, and game day pizza, chronicle the transition from summer to fall.

As much as I love summer, after the scorcher we had this year, this fall weather is a welcome change.

The first real dark and chilly morning of the season reminds the writer how stark the journey is at times. The ability to steel oneself, to harden our being on a journey which is ultimately of our own choosing is the mark of how we relate to others. Without tempering, the knife blade will hold no edge. Only by fire and even tempering will the edge remain true and sharp.

Until next time--

You can read past columns by visiting tamatoledonews.com and clicking on the "Local Columns" button.

In to the Wind and this column are copyright 2005 - 2013 Mike Gilchrist. Readers, feel free to contact me at mike@aweiowa.com via email, or write to me at P.O. Box 255, Toledo, IA 52342.

 
 

 

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