Monday, September 03, 2012

Autumn is almost here

No matter what the calendar says, summer’s almost gone, and autumn is just around the corner here in Empire, Alabama. There are so many signs that appear each day.

The hummingbirds are in a feeding frenzy, and although they weigh just barely more than your mental picture of them, they seem to be a lot bigger as they buzz your head when you venture too close to their feeders.

A few weeks ago, we saw the first tiny goldenrod blossoms which grow by our walking path. The flower was the color of egg yoke.

Further down the trail, I noticed the crimson-colored sumac leaves. I’ve always wanted a car that color. (Car dealer: “What color do you want for your new Porsche 911 Carrera?” Rick: “I want it the color of sumac in autumn.”)

This summer, there were days hotter than Satan in a sauna, but this morning when we walked we could feel a coolness on the wind — a promise of autumn.

Soon we’ll be digging through trunks for sweatpants, long-sleeved shirts and sweaters to wear when the nights get longer and the wind is out of the northwest.

Autumn changes the chores from mowing grass and hoeing peas to cleaning the BBQ grill and lawnmower to get them ready to winter in the barn. The tiller will join them as soon as the fall garden is in the ground.

I plan to plant collards, turnip greens, beets and onions this fall. Each year as the turnips mature, Jilda not only prepares the greens, but she also bakes the turnips like potatoes.

I like to mash mine mushy with a fork, scoop on enough butter to clog a major artery with cholesterol, then add greens, a few scallions, a pone of hot cornbread and a bucket of ice tea, and I’m in culinary heaven. 

If there’s a better meal on the planet, I’d like to try it and see if it’s actually better or if someone is recommending it without having tasted Jilda’s cooking.

Dang, after typing this past sentence, I stood and walked to the fridge and looked inside to see if I could find any left-overs. Now where was I? 

Oh yes, autumn also brings football. I realize there are a lot of people who could care less about football, but I can’t help believing that perhaps they were beamed down to earth several years ago by all those UFOs we routinely saw in the South. 

(OK, I’m kidding about this one, folks.)

The thing I like best about autumn is the color. Some years when the summer has been dry, autumn passes almost without visual fanfare because the color is non-existent.

Then there are other years when each turn on a Sunday drive is like color I experienced when I first peered through a kaleidoscope as a child.

I lived in Panama for a while, and except for the exotic birds, it’s one color, and that’s green. There are many other places where the landscape rarely changes.

But I’ve also been to some of the most beautiful spots on this part of the planet that become even more beautiful in autumn. 

Some of my favorites places were New Hampshire, Virginia, Tennessee, Washington and of course, Alabama. 

There are things about summer I will miss, but the seasons are like a slow-moving train on a circular track, and summer will come again. 

But according to Mother Nature’s conductor, the next stop is “Autumnville.”


  1. Loved your comment about the "seasons being like a slow-moving train on a circular track, and summer will come again."

    Such a nice image. Susan

  2. I'm clinging on to the hope of an Indian summer!!! Take care

  3. Was feeling the nearness of fall until this weekend and the next couple of days as summer has come back with a vengence here in Oklahoma. Whew, HOT here, but I don't complain, I like summer here.

  4. What a wonderful compliment you made of Jildas cooking.
    It must be very very good!!!:)

  5. When we put up the mower and grill (although I grill standing in snow!) I expect cold temps and ice and snow. Does it get that cold down there? I'm seeing the signs around here too. In fact I took some pics to blog about it sometime soon. For me it's the poison ivy that changes to a beautiful red. I'm just itching to get a car that color! (just kidding!)


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