Wednesday, October 29, 2008

When the Frost is On the Punkin

Okay, no eloquent prose here. I love autumn. I think it's my favorite time of year. Some would see it as an ending and, indeed, it is. The winding down of long, leisurely summer days, vacations, heatwaves, activity; the preemptor to the coming winter when life lay frozen in its midst.

To me, it is comforting, like warm blankets on a cold night or a tender hug. I can almost feel it wrap its strong arms around me and hold me close. A dear friend coming again to visit for a season, reminding me of friends and family and special moments. Stirring in me a childlike glee as we marvel at the majesty unfolding before us. We walk in the crisp autumn air, kicking at piles of damp leaves ever growing at our feet, gazing wordlessly as the green of summer fades to the vibrancy of autumn hues: gold and red and orange, all shades in between. We dance as God would have us to do as we delight in His handiwork.

I woke this morning to greet my dear old friend, Keats' "season of mists and yellow fruitfulness," as our first frost lay lightly on the grass outside my window. The crisp air filled my nostrils, the leaves were at their glorious peak; my heart and spirit stirred. Autumn brings nature's last hurrah before the winter settles in. It calls us to gather as the squirrels their nuts, the farmers their harvest; we gather close family and friends, and memories, and we anticipate getting together again and all the things we love to do in the fall: sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows and telling funny stories, lighting cozy, warm fireplaces and snuggling together, walking in the woods, kicking at the leaves, opening our homes to kin and guests, family all the same, giving thanks, and some would say football.

Fall is the most special season for entertaining human folk and, as James Whitcomb Riley surmised, angels.

"When the Frost is on the Punkin"

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then the time a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here—
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover overhead!—
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the cellar-floor in red and yaller heaps;
And your cider-makin's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With theyr mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and sausage too!... I don't know how to tell it—but ef such a thing could be
As the angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me—
I'd want to 'commodate 'em—all the whole-indurin' flock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

James Whitcomb Riley. 1853–1916
(Louis Untermeyer, ed.
(1885–1977). Modern American Poetry. 1919. )
Have a blessed day!

1 comment:

Junosmom said...

It's good to see you blogging again. I have added you to my Google Reader so I don't miss a post or commenting.