About Me

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I am a mother, a teacher, and a nature lover. I grew up on a mountain we called Owls' Knob in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The first seven years of my life were spent living in a log cabin, far from a store or streetlight, without electricity or running water and after twenty years of travel, I returned to the abondoned homestead. Now I live on a hill by a small lake and work at a public garden. These are stories about nature written from a women deeply influenced by place.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Autumn in the Ozarks

Some autumns are better than others. Occasionally, showers are blown in during August and September, providing the forest with a rainbow of colors. But more often than not the dry summer results in an array of browns. Regardless, the trees put on a fashion show of gold and crimson frills which fall into a copper carpet as winter’s chill strips the forest naked.
After the trees shed, walking in the woods is deafening. The crunch of leaves under my clumsy boots masks the scampering of squirrels gathering food and the whoosh of wind under migrating geese wings. Under the blanket of leaves, hide anything that was left in the yard. All summer lawn ornaments, dishes, and toys are scattered about during the warm weather, and if not collected in time, the blanket of dead vegetation hides it for months.
Trickery does not wait for Halloween. The dry rustle of leaves tricks my ears into thinking the clouds have finally busted. Like the infrequent rain, yellow drops cascade from the hickory branches when the wind blows creating the illusion of butterflies. Along with the leaves, hickory nuts barreling out of the canopy, and hitting the tin over the woodpile, causes me to jump imagining a hunter wandered into the yard and shot my prancing dog. Leaves deceive my eyes when they tumbled end over end across the highway, making me slam on my breaks thinking that a brown rodent has darted into my car’s deadly path. A single red leaf fluttering alone in a shrub might fool me into believing a cardinal has come to call.
But it is not a season for arrivals, but of departures. Autumn comes each year like the exiting of in-laws who stayed too long. There is a tinge of sadness as animals prepare for hibernation and insects die after such a short life. But to a bug bitten human, the solitude is appealing. In winter, the forest is empty, like streets on Sunday at 4 am. Of course, by February I will be lonely and those first flowers and pesky bugs of Spring will bring me joy. But for now, I welcome the exodus.

1 comment:

  1. I love the addition of the picture. And the paragraph starting with "Trickery" was wonderful - words that conjured vivid pictures in my mind. Keep up the good work - you write very well.
    Hugs...Aunt Carolyn