Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autumn Arrives

   Happy First Day of Fall, Y'all!! Everywhere I look this week people are gearing up for and smiling about the official change in seasons. Women are wearing knee high boots (guilty) even though it's not quite chilly enough; stores are happy to sell us artificially colored plastic leaves because our real leaves are still too green to collect; and the Pinterest boards have been flooded with football "game day" recipes. This exuberant thrust into the future tends to happen with a little extra oomph after any one season has been particularly brutal, as was the case with summertime 2012 in Oklahoma.

   I have made my peace with the end of summer.


   I mean, our pool is still open, soooo...


   This time of year is sensationally beautiful, of course. In most parts of the country but especially in Oklahoma, we can enjoy all variations of weather and foliage and local foods and also new, boredom-busting activities. Longer, slower hikes outside, pots of soup simmering on the stove, gardening without melting your face off. Watching the sun set comfortably, maybe even with a blanket wrapped around your shoulders. Crisp apples, moist pumpkin bread, and cotton table cloths that you would never use any other time of year...

   I must admit that early autumn is a little bittersweet for Handsome and me. It is the time of year when each of my girls made the decision to live with their Dad. On different years, mind you, but at the same season. On bad days, this is all bitter and no sweet. But then sometimes I can vividly imagine that their homecoming will happen in the fall, perhaps sometime far into the future, to replace the echo of that heartbreak with the celebration of our long awaited miracle. Hope is always sweet.

Our beloved Talking Tree on a particularly foggy morning

   Autumn is also when we had that house fire here at the farm that was started by (get this) a candle I had just purchased at Michael's THAT SAME DAY to celebrate the arrival of fall!! Can you even believe the poetry in that?! I think it was a cinnamon-apple candle in a big glass jar, and it was almost three years before I could smell anything cinnamon with out feeling nauseous. "Hi, my name is Marie and I am terrified of cinnamon."

Our front door and first floor may have been gutted, 
but our porch lights stayed lit and the flowers kept on blooming!

   Fortunately, and as a testament to both the power of Nature to overcome everything else and to our wealth of happy family memories, so much beauty remains that every year I cannot help but fall madly in love with autumn all over again.

   I love the flowers of the season...

   I love the pumpkin carving...

Look closely at these seeds... they are actually sprouts! 
They had sprouted inside the pumpkin, in the dark! 
Nature is amazing.
We fed them to the chickens.

...and I love the animal pranks. Kitten-Stuffed-Inside-Pumpkin is a classic. 

Unsuspecting Cat, "Fast Woman," Circa 2008
Note the wary goat int he background. 
That is Marshmallow. She was no dummy.

Unsuspecting  and Unnamed Offspring of Fast Woman's, Circa 2010
I was more than slightly amused to realize that
our feline-jack o'lantern tradition spanned many years.

But do NOT try this stunt with a goat. Or a buffalo. By comparison, cats are defenseless.

Sweet little Chunk-Hi back when he was still little and free to roam the yard.
See his stubby horn buds? Such a scruffy age, and so tender hearted, 
but still not appropriate for pumpkin-stuffing.

   Speaking of animal pranks, fall is a great time of year to bring your pretty little hens inside...

 ...and make them look at fake, Styrofoam poultry stapled to little squares of cardboard. Seriously, if you have chickens just do this, ok? You should SEE the looks on their faces! It's awesome.

   I love bonfires SO MUCH. Bonfires are easily my favorite thing about autumn. They encourage people to cuddle and talk and laugh hard and loud without worrying how weird their faces look. They send up smoke and embers to point our eyes toward the stars in the moody, changing sky... Bonfires are for s'mores and ghost stories, romance and memories.


   I love that life is so full of texture. So rich with change and surprise, yet also filled with constant offers of strength and Truth. We just have to accept them. The painful times help us appreciate the happy times. The joyful times insulate us for the inevitable devastation.

   Take time to soak up the details and texture of whatever season you find yourself in. Accept its gifts, rise to its challenges, and whenever possible gather your loved ones around a bonfire and love each other through it.

And Take More Pictures!!


  1. How many days till Summer?....

  2. Gorgeous. I snorted out loud at that pic of Chunk. Maybe mostly at the idea of shoving him into a pumpkin now. Whew!

  3. Oh - wow...that Talking Tree! ~ RDK

  4. I'm totally gonna have to do that to a chicken.

  5. I love the cat in the pumpkin photo. And the way you explained bonfires was just perfect. I've never heard it put that way but I will surely remember and appreciate the words spoken. We have a fire pit in our back yard and love to sit around it at night making s'mores, telling jokes and ghost stories, and turning our eyes upward to the star filled sky, picking out the constellations. I'll think of this post now every time I sit around the fire. Thanks for reminding me to be thankful at the same time!

  6. lol those goats were probably right to be wary. Good thing you didn't have a bigger pumpkin. I also cracked up at the chickens in the house! Definitely none of this on my list. I do have cats, but never put them in a pumpkin. lol I love that first comment and express the same sentiment!


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