COUNTDOWN TO FALL

It rained today. I was beginning to think it would never happen again. We’re into our second year of short rainfalls and long drought conditions. Too many wildfires, and too many days of 110 degrees plus heat. I’m ready for fall.

When I was little, it always meant going back to school. For me, this was good and this was bad. I loved school and my friends. I did not like being a teacher’s kid, but what can you do? Mother was a teacher. We had to eat. Options over.

Fall is my favorite time of year for a lot of reasons. Growing up a farmer’s daughter, summer meant long days and long hours working, putting up produce from our garden, helping Daddy haul hay out of the field, milking cows, feeding pigs… you name it. I’ve done it. But fall was a time to slow down. Crops were nearly all put by. Sometimes Daddy would let the cows dry up so we wouldn’t have to milk through the winter, which I hated. Fingers so cold they didn’t want to squeeze the old cow’s udders anymore than she wanted my cold hands on her.

I love the way the air smells in the fall. A little crisp, like the way a ripe apple smells just before you take that first bite. And I love the days when the sun is still shining but you have to wear a jacket to be comfortable. The leaves on the trees begin to turn and the grass finally quits growing and no more days of mowing lawns. By the time the leaves begin to fall, I have already begun my nesting. Like a bear getting ready to den up, I gather things around me for the time when the nights are far longer than the hours of sunlight – like books I’ve been wanting to read, and renting movies I never got to see. I dig out recipes because it’s no longer too hot in the house to start an oven. I am counting down now. Waiting for the time to rest.

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