Autumn in its glory
Monday morning's brilliant sunlight sparkled across fields of frost-covered grasses. At first glance, it looked as if snows had fallen during the night and blanketed the area. Finally, a long hot summer had taken its leave. And following the mandates of nature and the calendar, autumn had arrived.
Across the hills, as trees begin their march into shades of red and gold that also hail the change of the seasons, flocks of blackbirds gather in fields to pick up fallen grain. Along a roadside, a pheasant walks into an open area, only briefly showing off his bright plumage before disappearing back into the trees. The squirrels run about, collecting walnuts and acorns to store for winter's needs and flocks of turkeys fatten on grain left over from corn harvest.
Steam rises over a pond surrounded by frost-covered fields. Cattle graze on the hillside, seemingly unaware that temperatures have plunged.
Once again, it's time to put on a thick flannel shirt, bundle up and go for a long autumn walk, then come back and stoke up the woodstove or build a fire in the fireplace, and put a pot roast and vegetables in a Dutch oven to simmer on the stove.
This is the time of year to pull out a favorite book or curl up on the couch and watch a favorite movie. Go to a football game, or watch one on TV, sort through sweaters, hunt up gloves and mittens, and in short, take a break from summer's hectic pace.
For a while at least, let life slow down. Take a break and and savor the newness that nature's changing seasons have to offer.
I don't envy those who live in tropical climates. The seasons as experienced in Kansas are like presents when we tire of one type of weather, we always know there will be a break in a month or so.
It's something to look forward to the ritual of preparing for the changes, the delight of awakening to a frost-covered world, and the knowledge that when the trees are bare and green grass seems so long away, a new spring will come again.
And as for now, there's a magnificent show to see.
We don't have to travel a single mile to get there, for autumn, in all its splendor, in its portentous threshold of winter, is at our doorstep.