September 30, 2014

Reflections of Autumn

Schricker,-Mary-Dec2010By Mary Schricker Gemberling


“It was October again … a glorious October, all red and gold, with mellow mornings when the alleys were filled with delicate mists as if the spirit of autumn had poured them in for the sun to drain—amethyst, pearl, silver, rose and smoke-blue. The dews were so heavy that the fields glistened like cloth of silver and there were such heaps of rustling leaves in the hollows of many-stemmed woods to run crisply through.”
– L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

While reading the newspaper and enjoying my morning coffee, I gaze out the window at four deer standing in the yard. Since we live in the country surrounded by corn and bean fields, we often see deer, but this week the chilly mornings have enticed them out of the woods in plain sight more frequently. Even though we have had a cooler than normal summer, and autumn is officially a few days away, I, too, welcome the crisp fall like temperatures. Yes, fall is my favorite time of year! I seemed to be energized and yet mellow at the same time. My list of everyday chores is just as long, but somehow there seems to be no rush. I am retired, so I am not sure why I ever feel hurried, but with summer over there is a peacefulness that settles around me.

The garden is covered with acorns, and the meager harvest of tomatoes is complete. I evaluate this year’s successes and failures, and my imagination explodes with future garden plans. I will plant bulbs, so sprouts of color can emerge from the snow at the first sign of spring. We need more vegetable plants, and maybe I will even do some canning next summer. The rhubarb and horseradish will be ready for inaugural harvests next year. My trellis will be covered with brightly colored blooms, and the newly planted roses will be full of buds next summer.

I love to cook, but especially when the weather turns cool! I made corn chowder last night for dinner and baked apple pies this morning. The steamy soups and stews sound and taste so good, and the aromas of stuffed pork chops, baked apples, and pumpkin bread permeate the air and tempt my taste buds weary of summer salads and lighter meals.

Although many of my clothes are seasonally generic, I need to replace the bright pink and aqua of summer with the more muted tones of fall and winter. It is time for fleece and layers with scarves to curb the damp and chilly temps. I pull out my quilted vests and exchange my shorts for corduroy and flannel pants. In place of sandals and flip flops, clunky shoes and boots line up neatly on the shelf.

Although I love to frequent farmer’s markets anytime and anywhere, autumn is my favorite time to visit. The pathways are lined with pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, while the vendor stands are piled high with the bounty of summer. I cannot resist the rainbow of orange, rust and gold mums, as I purchase at least one of each color. Before I head home, I enjoy a steaming cup of mocha with some freshly baked pumpkin or apple delight!

No article on fall would be complete without mentioning football! Although my knowledge of the game is rudimentary at most, I will admit I do love to be in the stands on a cool autumn day rooting for the home team. Sitting in the stands with a group of people similarly clad, screaming and cheering, creates an undeniable and satisfying synergy!

On a chilly afternoon there is no guilt in curling up in my favorite chair with a blanket and good book and whiling away hours with fictional people I have not met, who live in places I have not been. I can finish those photo albums from earlier vacations, send long emails to friends I have not recently seen, or even finish that quilt for my granddaughter, Pearl.

Autumn seems to vacillate between this mood of complacency and a spirit of constant change. Every morning brings a different shade of red or orange, fewer leaves on the trees, a marked difference in the temperature….from cool to the warm of Indian summer….back to frost on the pumpkin. There’s an element of surprise as you never quite know what to expect, always grabbing that jacket before you head out the door. All around us the earth seems to go dormant, and for now there is closure as nature gives us one last spectacular show of color to enjoy before we are plunged into winter.

Mary, a former educator and Seniors Real Estate Specialist, is the author of two books, The West End Kid and Labor of Love; My Personal Journey Through the World of Caregiving (available at www.amazon.com).

Filed Under: Featured, Personal Growth