Autumn. Just saying it conjures up sun-warmed days on hillsides where falling oak leaves flirt with the wind over the heads of auburn thistle. Where the acrid and damp chemistry of decomposing leaves turns my memory to youthful days pressing red and gold maple between wax paper. Autumn is a horse untamed, barely escaping winter’s ineluctable lasso for a few more weeks. It is a time for preparation, for hunting and gathering up the celebrations of summer and storing them for the inevitable grey days ahead.
It is a midpoint, a time to eat dessert with dinner and to forgo the precautions of the polite a little longer. It is a time to fete the fallen fruit: the apple, the pear, the persimmon. It is a time to sew new buttons and old bulbs. A time to grip the leather harness, to bend the forked rake, to fold the weighty canvas. A time to gather wood with leather gloves and to snap dry twigs. It is a time when hunters take to the woods, to nap beneath the elm while blue-headed turkeys glide past in amber shadows. You can be sure that Autumn is the last invitation you will receive from mother nature this year, and you would be foolish to turn it down.