My INDEX TO AUTUMN

 

My INDEX TO AUTUMN

DEFINITION of INDEX: an alphabetical list of names, subjects, etc.,  typically found at the end of a book.

AFTERNOON: angle of light in; soccer games in; time to rake leaves, walk in;

APPLES: bobbing, drying, picking; for pies; green, red, yellow; teachers dislike for–truth revealed;

ARGUMENTS DURING: regarding football games on TV, leaf raking;

BABIES: record number conceived in; riding in strollers for walks;

BASKETS Of: apples, cinnamon bread, dried flowers, pumpkins;

BIRDS: departure of; feeding with break crumbs, pumpkin seeds;

BLANKETS: washing, adding to beds, especially in colder climates;

BOTTLES: contents of: cider, wines, window cleaner;

CANDY: see cavities;

CAVITIES: see candy, Halloween;

CHILDREN: arguments concerning leaf raking, trips to ER after football, soccer games;

CORN: husks; stalks in fields; sweet with butter;

CROPS: abundance of; ruined by rain/winds; varieties: cranberries, melons, pears, yams;

DYING: sunlight along the grass; light in the tops of the trees;

FOOTBALL: games, scores, tailgates; see also arguments about…

FROST: first; preparation for; harm to delicate plants not covered; see cultivars;

GRAPES: arbors of; jams, jellies; wreathes made from branches of;

GRASS: color of; reduced growth of; spreading roots;

GREEN: grass after rainfall; see photosynthesis;

HALLOWEEN: cornstalks; costumes; light on the night of; rain on the night of; scarecrows; tricks by children; See shaving cream, toilet paper;

HARVEST: moon;

HUSBAND: arguments about football games and raking leaves;

INDIAN SUMMER: stories, length of; discussion as to whether term is politically correct;

KILLING FROST: see frost;

LAWNS: covered with leaves; light from sun in late golden afternoons;

LEAVES: gold, plum, red, yellow;

MOON: harvest; full; lover’s moon; yellow; zenith hour;

PHOTOSYNTHESIS: cessation of in plants;

PUMPKINS: carving of; orange; size; transformation; See husband, children;

RAKE: varieties: bamboo, iron; plastic; verb: arguments pertaining to…

SLANT: of sunlight;

SQUIRRELS: everywhere; eat Indian corn off porches; bite into pumpkins;

SUNSETS: amazing…

TEENS: hanging in groups; homecoming; tricks on Halloween; football; testosterone;

TESTOSTERONE: see babies, teens; parenting;

WASHING: see windows;

WELCOME: see wreaths for doors;

WINDOWS: see washing;

WREATHS, on doors: corn husk, grape vine, soon to purchase evergreen; also, wreath of smiles. Autumn is the loveliest month.

Thanks for reading. This was written when my children were young. I save everything.

THANKS FOR THE GORGEOUS PHOTO FROM: Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words  

Relax, Let Go, There’s Goodness…

Relax, Let Go, There's Goodness...

How do you let go of stress? Do you walk, run, indulge in a hobby?

I’m a gardener, but I do love autumn, appreciate the end of things, the respite. I could say I just need a break, but because of the many things & duties we take on in our lives, it’s good to anticipate some letting go, to be creative with how we use that freed up time.

LOOK TO THE SEASONS

After our wild fertile spring blasts her seeds, creates weeding headaches, I truly don’t mind a halt to that growth, to the gradual letting go as the earth grows cold and the sun’s angle changes. Autumn is when flowers stand out against the returned vigor of green grass, the shouting changing colors of the trees. Being outside on a warm day becomes a gift. I soak up the sun, become even more aware of the beauty of the earth, as I rake, pick the last flowers in the garden, put away flowerpots. Because I am preparing my garden and myself for the onslaught of winter. As folks like to say, IT’S ALL GOOD. But it is major change.

CHANGE: SOMETHING WE CAN’T ESCAPE 

The cycle of the seasons affects many things in our lives: school ends in one season, begins in another. Jobs and job responsibilities cycle throughout the year. Our very existence can change from the height of abundance to the depth of loss. But change is inevitable, and in these past seasons dealing with COVID, loss and gain have been the primary struggle. So are you okay? Have you lost anyone? 

SOME SIMPLE PHILOSOPHY 

To stay healthy in mind and body, we all have to try to avoid the stresses related to expected and unexpected changes–even those as basic and expected as the change of seasons.  Jane McKeon, of Better Homes and Gardens, wrote in one of her gardening articlesWISDOM: Frost reminds us that we’re not in charge after all.  How do we let go? Laugh at our failures, but don’t repeat them…Observe. Learn. Let go.

On one level, Jane is talking about gardening, but on another her words mean much more. We all experience life changes that affect our physical and spiritual health. Sometimes we are happy for these changes, other times we pray that they never happened or that they will end. In the latter case, we might clench our teeth, tense up our body muscles, even lash out at those around us, the people we love. Or…we can let go. It’s challenging, but there are times that call for  examining or admitting our struggles and our failures, discovering what might have contributed to them, trying not to repeat them. Bottom line, we are allowing a change in our own personal seasons. 

FINAL THOUGHTS 

There will be frost—for we are not in charge. But we can live happier, better lives if we find something about change that strengthens us. A broken bone, a pulled tendon, painful and inconvenient, is not life threatening. It can create a lasting appreciation for that body part, and for the people who do the littlest thing to help us weather that cycle.

On a different note, it’s totally challenging to find anything good in a job loss. That’s a change that requires strength, positive thinking, the belief that attitude is everything. That kind of stress can hurt family relations, ruin a person’s health. In times of struggle, we have to let go, accept the help of others while we are doing everything we can to help ourselves: observing, learning, planting those new seeds. Then we will weather such a season–have hope for new growth; it’s a process we perfect one day, one week, one year at a time. 

Jane McKeon may have intended her words just for gardening, but they are words of true wisdom. For spiritual and physical health, it’s best to accept the flow of the seasons in life, to weather the springs and the autumns. Then you’ll be ready for the winters when they come. Because after frost and snow, spring always returns.

When Will All the Leaves Fall   Primitive art by Debbie Criswell

Relax, Let Go, There's Goodness...

GRATEFUL…

In the Midwest, the grass is thickening and widening, the color deep and truly green. When the sun slants through my garden door around three o’clock in the afternoon, you can see the yellow-green haze of color flowing through the yard. There are a few roses lifting their lovely heads. The aster’s purple is fading and the apple tree has lost all of its golden leaves. The mums on my front porch sigh with loss, but we can still celebrate the colors of fall, the orange of pumpkins, the symbols of the end of the season, the perfect blend to highlight the green grass that will return and the golden leaves that blow and sparkle like some crazy fairy dust.

AUTUMN CHORES  

My back garden walk is now swept clean, allowing me to enjoy the tidiness of the fading season. When things fall back toward the earth, the outlines of garden and lawn, of walkway and road, become more apparent. This definition pleases my sense of order and organization.

Fall is the time to remember the trailing vines and the riot of summer flower color, to now become satisfied with the quieter tones that hug the ground–the shaped evergreens, remnants of fall that are softening, the air cooler, drier. The skies have swept up too, presenting swathes of crystal blue. You can see the definitive outlines of the trees, and the houses along the street–definition being the order of this season. It’s soothing and with family help, garden things are cleaned and put away, everything quietly asleep, waiting for a reawakening.

THIS IS THE TIME...

to store energy, like rabbits and squirrels or fly away, like birds who leave for warmer places. With Covid 19, most of us will stay in place, storing energy for the burst of growth in the spring. I have always been a person who seeks solace and quietude more than riotous living. I don’t like loud bars, overdrinking and eating. I like the lines of furniture in my rooms, broken only by the placement of things I love that sit on their surfaces—a flowered pillow, a piece of crystal, a flowing candle of light.

This is my season to highlight my rooms with colors like autumn leaf, chamois and seagrass, all reminding me of endings, good endings that are resolute and leave one feeling blessed, not sorrowful. 

Autumn is the time to tidy up one’s house, yard and soul as the earth prepares for sleep and hibernation. In colder climates, like the squirrels, we stock up on food-energy and light-energy, remnants of what our ancestors needed to survive. We find a time when we can settle back into our brains and examine who we are, where we are going, and how we might improve. Life cannot be lived like the riot of spring where nature blows her wad and lets everything grow and rush about, sperm floating in the millions until it whittles itself down to one plant, one bud. We humans must be more judicious in our use of fertility and in how we utilize and share our bounty.

THINGS TO DO…

In autumn, we need to count the jars in the cellar, the apples in the basket, the sins on the soul. We need to tidy our lives and draw within to discover how we will survive, how we will make it through the dark times of our lives. In spring, when life comes back, we hope to have no fears for the future. 

I will miss the complacency of California, where change is not so noticeable as it will be this year, being back in the Midwest. So what’s happening? Our fireplace is being cleaned tomorrow and we have a new shed to store wood. . . 

What rituals do you go through as the seasons change?

Anne Lamott writes: “Autumn ain’t so shabby for Wow, either. The colors are broccoli and flame and fox fur. The tang is apples, death, and wood smoke. The rot smells faintly of grapes, of fermentation, of one element being changed alchemically into another, and the air is moist and you sleep under two down comforters in a cold room. The trails are not dusty anymore, and you get to wear your favorite sweaters.” 

Thanks to Jennifer Williamson 

Let Go, Let God

Letting Go

How do you let go of stress? I’m a gardener who loves autumn. I appreciate the end of things, the respite. I need a break! After wild fertile spring blasts her seeds and makes big weeding headaches, I don’t mind a halt to growth. Autumn is a time when flowers stand out against the returned vigor of green grass and the shouting colors of the trees. I crave being outside on a warm day soaking up the sun and the beauty of the earth while raking, putting away flowerpots, and preparing myself for the onslaught of winter.

The cycle of the seasons affects many things in our lives: school ends in one season, begins in another. Job responsibilities cycle throughout the year. Our very existence can cycle from the height of abundance to the depth of loss. Change is inevitable.

To stay healthy, we all have to work to let go of the stresses related to expected and unexpected changes. Jane McKeon, of Better Homes and Gardens, recently wrote under

the heading WISDOM: Frost reminds us that we’re not in charge, after all.  How do we let go?  Laugh at our failures, but don’t repeat them…Observe. Learn. Let go.

Though on one level Jane is talking about gardening, her words mean more. We all experience life changes that affect our physical and spiritual health. Sometimes we are happy for these changes, other times we pray that they will soon end. In the latter case we can clench our teeth, let our back muscles grip in pain, lash out at those around us, or we can let go. It’s challenging, but such times call for examining our failures, discovering what might have contributed to them, and trying not to repeat them.

There will be frost—we are not in charge. But we can live happier, better lives if we find something about change that strengthens us. A broken arm, painful and inconvenient, is not life threatening. It can create a lasting appreciation for that body part, and for the people who do the littlest thing to help us weather that cycle. On a different note, it’s totally challenging to find anything good in a job loss. That’s a change that requires we all remember: attitude is everything and stress can tear a family apart or ruin a person’s health. In such a time of struggle, for our own health and the health of our families, we have to let go and let others help us. And of course we have to help ourselves: observe, learn, not repeat our failures. That’s how we will weather such a season. It’s a cumulative process, one we will get better at as we live.

Jane McKeon may have intended her words for gardening, but they are words of true wisdom. For your own spiritual and physical health, accept the flow of the seasons in your life. Weather the springs and autumns and you’ll be ready for the winters when they come. Let Go, Let God –or whatever god or spiritual practice you believe in. After frost and snow comes spring.

Thanks to Google Images.

Let Go, Let God

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Google Images

 

 

 

 

 

 

If I Lay Dying

If I Lay Dying

You know that time of day, when the sun is slowly withdrawing from the earth, moving slowly up the trees and the sides of buildings.  As I walk, I cling to any of its light that I can see.  And especially now, in autumn.  Something about the air, the warmth of seventy degree days, the cascade of that sunlight moves me to ecstasy.  I find a heightened love of the earth taking me over and maybe it is because I will soon be closed inside as winter hardens the ground and the brilliant blast of green grass will be dying, dulled to flattened brown.

In this time since the attacks on the United States on September 11th, 2001,my love of the air and the sun, the grass and the burning orange leaves is intensified.  Will I be here next year to witness the same and in the same way?

I feel comfort in the world that surrounds me, in the neat neighborhood that I dwell in, the patches of lawns, the clusters of trees, the familiar homes marching down the hills of Des Moines.  I take in each white clapboard or red brick structure, each pumpkin festooning a porch.  I hunger and am satisfied by color, by the sounds of blowing leaves and the distant moan of a train.  Stay still, stay like this, I want to call out.  Don’t change, don’t erupt in something that my mind will not be able to accept, that my body will reject as not normal.

My life is so good, the day-to-day living simple and precious.  But I don’t long now for any change.  I long for permanence in an impermanent world.  And if something terrible were to happen, if my death were to suddenly stare me in the face–I hope it would be away from chaos and fire, screams of terror and fear.  I hope that I could crawl to a soft spot in the downy grass, lay my body down in the last square of sunlight.  I would want to smell the air, the grass, listen to the whispers of the trees and maybe birds — oh it would be wonderful if there were birds.  And I would lie there watching the sun move away from me, trying to hold it back, knowing it has to speed along the grass and up the trees, until craning my neck to see the last of it in the sky, I would hope it will take me along, let me breathe my last before it dies away.