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Posts Tagged ‘autumn’

The winds picked up this evening.  The nor’easter winds with their eerie, haunting howls.  The shrieks have been wrapping around the house all night.  The tempests have brought the ghosts in with them.  I’ve heard Mom’s door opening and closing.  Brigs snored at the bottom of the stairs.  A big one that even rattled his collar.  Creepiness is filling my home and I love every minute of it.

October is a magical month.  The leaves die and float to the ground revealing the skeletal arms of the trees.  Soon a walk around the block will echo with the crunch and crackle of the leaves under foot.  The night creeps in earlier and the moon always seems brighter.  Scarecrows adorn the lawns and the straw arms billow from the gales, stretching out to catch a person as he walks by their perch.

Colorful mums sprout from the ground and grow fuller each day.  The color of the leaves on the grass blend with the mums.  Pumpkins and Jack ‘o lanterns burst with color in a graying world.  Ghosts stories float to children’s ears, scaring them a little bit more until they cry out for the storyteller to stop.

In a few weeks. children dressed as cowboys, princesses, and monsters get to willingly approach strangers and ask them for candy.  Witches will cackle flying on their brooms overhead.  Scary moans and laughter, rattling chains, and haunting  music will swirl around and fill the night with spooky noises.

I can remember walking Brigs during October and always being thankful that he was a large dog.  Even though I knew I was perfectly safe, the hairs would stand up on the back of my neck.  Sounds would echo down the street and seem to be surrounding us at the same time.  I could feel eyes watching us.  I was sure of it and so I stuck close to Brigs.  I knew he would protect me.  This is the first autumn without him here to bring me comfort as the nor’easter ghosts settle in for the winter again.

Oh, I love the autumn.  I love ghost stories.  I love the look of the fog and the sounds of the wind and the leaves.  I love the smell of the wood burning in fireplaces to warm the homes with glowing windows as we all settle in for the cold.  A lot of Uncle Stevie to read in the coming months.  Old tales that are good friends that help to keep one warm during the winter months.  And to help keep the ghosts at bay.  Even as the gales blow around the house.

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The leaves provide a foley artist soundscape as I am walking around campus.  The crisp leaves crinkle under everyone’s foot steps.  As the trees become more bare, they take on their skeletal appearance.  The branches look like arms of the dead reaching out for something we don’t want to know about.  It’s tolerable during the day.

But at night as I walk my dog, it takes on a darker feel.  The crinkle of the leaves underfoot echoes a bit more.  The random solitary leaf blowing down the road sounds like the feet of a small creature approaching for an attack.  Even my dog lifts up his eyes and searches the road for the origin of the sounds.

The night is crisp tonight.  The cold stars are twinkling down but seem more mysterious with the dark, dark sky surrounding them.  When the moon is full, one would think you would feel more comfort with it shining brightly through the skeletal trees, but in fact the full moon’s glow only creates more shadows, more areas to watch.

But it is the cycle.  As winter closes in, the days will be grayer and the nights will be creepier.  Snow and ice will add to the dark mood of the winter season.

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Once I was done vacuuming the rocket sled (the boys thought it would be fun to see what made the rubber chicken so squishy-little styrofoam balls, in case you were wondering), it was time to participate in suburbia’s annual ridiculousness known as raking the leaves.  When did we forget that God had a pretty good plan when He designed trees?  And the seasons?  The trees lose their leaves and they fall to the ground.  If we were to leave them there, their nutrients would go back into the ground and they naturally mulch plants that need mulching.  But no…here in suburbia, we want neat, well-manicured lawns.

I rebel against this in several ways.  First, today was the second time I raked and dragged the leaves to the curb.  It will be the last for the season.  I’ll just “not have any more time” to work on this task.  This way I’ve conformed enough to the societal demands, yet still leave enough leaves to let them do their natural jobs.  When my neighbor says something, and she will, but always in a gentle way, I’ll simply say it’s tough keeping up and hasn’t the year gone quickly?

Another rebellion is to mow my lawn but keep the height of the mower so the grass doesn’t get a crew cut each time.  This helps keep more moisture if the rains take some time between showering us with water and makes the grass wave ever so slightly in the wind.  I know my lawn is an even mixture of grass and weeds, but the flowers of the weeds are so pretty.

My other rebellion involves my holly trees.  I used to hate them.  They were in bad shape.  They were planted way too close to each other (they came with the house) and in need of serious shaping.  I still haven’t properly shaped them, but I stopped trying to get rid of the natural underbrush that grows around them.  Turns out this provides a lovely home for birds.  Remember the movie Over the Hedge?  We’ve pushed the little woodland animals aside and then with our beautifully manicured lawns, with no underbrush, taken away any possible refuge for the critters.  I read that keeping an area like this in your yard provides a natural habitat for birds and is more effective than any bloody bird house you could stick out there.  The holly trees and the viney plants that grow around them provide shelter, a place to build their nests, protection, and food.  It’s lovely walking by it during the spring and summer-lovely little bird noises coming from it.  During the nesting period, it can be a little tricky for our dog.  Those mama birds interpret him as trouble if he walks too close and he has had a few birds dive bomb at him.  Fortunately, he’s gigantic and we walk away before the birds do anything serious.

So, if you are partaking in suburbia’s ritualistic insanity of undoing the good work God did in designing trees and leaves, go light this year.  You’ll have a greener lawn next year with less work.  Let your dog fertilize your lawn too.  That’s what we do.  For every season…

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late December back in 63…oh, wait, it’s only late October. Then why is there a snowstorm raging on my birthday? I’m used to the crisp autumn weather on my birthday. The scent of wood burning stoves filling the air, the sound of leaves crunching under your feet, and the glow of jack-o’-lanterns lighting front porches. It’s odd watching scary movies and then looking out the window and seeing snow swirling around the sky.

Ah, birthdays. I’ve always liked my birthday. Always had Halloween themed birthday parties. It’s always festive and everywhere is decorated making for a fun time to get a little older. I don’t mind getting older. As one of my students once told me, I’m not old, I’m cultured. So I’m a bit more cultured today.

Actually, what made me feel a bit more cultured lately is watching the ever-developing relationship of my sons. They were in trouble a week ago or so and as I was talking to them (I’m sure sounding like a grown-up from Charlie Brown), I noticed they were holding hands. A little show of solidarity against the parental figure. Then last night they announced they finally feel like brothers. They said they used to feel 1/4 like brothers, then 1/2, then 1/2 and 1/4 (which I explained was 3/4), but tonight they were full brothers. I can’t say I understand it at all, but they have gotten along beautifully the past couple of days so I’m not questioning it. They did things when I asked them to the first time I asked them. They are using their manners, sharing things without being asked to, and generally being the sweetest boys I’ve ever met.

We played Doodle Dice today and went to a Harvest (Halloween) party at church. We had an awesome day. The full-fledged brothers are enjoying life quite nicely.

As much as I say I don’t understand it, I think I might. They are growing up. They are closer to each other than they each were with me, individually. They used to turn to Mom for stuff, now it makes more sense to turn to brother. They have common memories and experiences that have brought them closer. They have come to realize they share more in common, they know what each other is feeling. They know what each other is going through. I am so happy they are full-fledged brothers. This is a bond I hope they share their entire lives.

My job is clear. Support them, love them, encourage them. All the things I’ve been doing to the best of my ability. And give them their own space and time together. Let them have their secrets, their private conversations, their shared dreams. And enjoy hearing them giggle in bed as they fall asleep.

Greatest birthday gift ever.

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