Autumn Psalter

Octobers Lament

Listening to Welsh songs on NPR
on a gray October morning-
a language so foreign
yet melodies familiar
as the coffee in my blue mug
and the call of the red winged blackbird
as it pierces the early dawn air
from yellowing woods across the cove.

In what ancient hills were these songs
first sung? What gray skies
heard first these lilting tunes?
Sailing so far away from their birth and home
to emerge in these steep ridges
and deep shadowy hollows of Ozarks autumn.

I listen to the harmony
of the north wind singing
thru the thicket of yellowing trees.

Field of Frost Flowers

Frost flowers 3Frost Flowers

As I was driving up the ridge this morning, I noticed these ‘frost flowers’ in bloom along my path. I have heard them called rabbit frost before but most people know them by frost flowers. Our temperatures were cold enough to freeze the moisture left in these road side grasses, causing the membranes to burst and freeze as it squeezed through the plant stems.
I wish I could show you how delicate these are – a thin sheet of frost swirled out around the plant. Shattering on contact and soon evaporated by the morning sun, they are a wonder each time I see them.

blossoming in the crystalline field –
flowers of delicate frost appear –
ephemeral beauty

Another wonder we encounter in the course of our seasons!

Burning October Leaves

One of my favorite fall chores is raking and then burning the leaves. And, yes, we still use yard rakes – not those loud whiney noisey leaf blowers. Bob says we use the acoustic tools not electric! That wonderful scritching sound of the metal tines against the ground and that dry rustling of the leaves is the sound of autumn to me. One of my fondest memories is of all us little grandkids helping my Granddad Allen in Crossett, Arkansas, rake and clean his yard before Thanksgiving dinner. All the leaves would be swept and piled onto his garden. Then – a thrill for every little kid – a big bonfire of crackling leaves and the smell of burning pine needles.
Today, I raked the drives and had three big leaf piles waiting on Bob when he got home from work. So after dinner, we burned the leaves.

bright orange and scarlet flames
final colors of october leaves
autumn bonfire

October Moments

tapping on the window-
whispering thru the door-
come out, come out –
autumns here
golden light reflecting –
the dawn lit leaves –
hickory trees on the ridge
October sky –
that impossible, unbelievable, unforgettable –
october wind sends leaves laughing across the road –
swirling into pirouettes of autumn color –
ballet of the season
clouds fall together –
pushing out the afternoon sun –
hickory leaves hold the golden light

Views of an Ozark October Afternoon

That, my dear friend, is my drive home from work this week. The first two photos were taken on the top of the ridge where I pulled into a farm drive. The rest are taken on the road down the ridge to our house. It had just started raining and the colors were sooooo vivid. I would have taken more but my camera quit!
The last week has just been breathtakingly beautiful. It makes me fall head over heels in love with this region, all over again!
I hope you are enjoying your part of this gorgeous world as I send you these pictures of mine!

The Seed of Winter Snows

Persimmons are having a bountiful year. All the trees around my walking trail are full  and heavy with these beautiful smooth skinned fruit. Maybe the heat and drought brought the best out in them or maybe the heat caused the webworms that are a summer foe, to have a bad summer. Whatever the reason, the trees are loaded with fruit.
One of my dearest friends was here this weekend and we brought some of the persimmons home from our afternoon walk- it was not ripe enough to eat (try at your own peril, the unripe fruit will cause a mighty pucker!) But Bob cracked open one of the seeds so we could forecast our winter weather.
As many know, the winter weather is forecast in the persimmon seed. A spoon is for lots of heavy, wet snow, a fork will bring a mild winter and a knife forecasts a winter that is  bitter cold and icy.

As you can see, the seed shows a spoon (the half of the seed on the right). So we are looking forward to shoveling lots of snow this winter.

on a warm October afternoon
I hold in my hand
the heavy snows of winter

Today the Sassafras Changed

Today the sassafras changed.
From morning to late afternoon
Transforming from that crispy late summer dull green
To something
Did they come to some sort of arboreal consensus?
Were there joint task force committee meetings to decide?
And once it was settled, when every tree was in agreement,
Did they each select from the catalogue of colors
To choose their autumn display?
Deep crimson, lemon yellow, day glo orange,
Odd orangefuchsiapink-
Each tree then their own individual
Creativity allowed to be displayed
On leaves of three different shapes.

Not unlike the gingko tree,
Whose billows of delicately shaped sweet green leaves
Will unanimously choose one day
To turn stunningly yellow.
Every small fan of this magnificent tree
Will change seemingly overnight.
Just as they will all elect
Some days later
To fall
In one accord.