Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Indian Summer

Indian Summer is upon us, that bonus of warm, even hot days that comes in October, when we somehow were expecting cool and fall.

The colors of the season are gold and brown and red, golden grasses sweeping the air with their leaves and grain, and golden and green sweet barley grasses drooping over from the weight of their fruit.

The fruit of the barberry bush is not yet ripe-a pale yellow, and the wild rose is peppered with small colorful red and yellow hips.

Red decorates the ends of the maple branches, and a plump grey and black bird flutters about, harvesting bluish berries from the five-leafed vines that are dangling from the branches.

The cattails are past, most all of them disintegrating into seedy fluff, with their stalks gone to yellow.

the spring lambs-ears are now dark brown stalks, dry as kindling, but in the shade, fall lambs-ears are green and alive, their leaves spread as wide around as dinner-plates. I wonder if they are growing out-of season and frost will kill them, if their fuzz and closeness to the ground will protect them, if they are gathering energy for next year, or if they will manage yet to put up a flower stalk in the temperate weeks that remain.

The Queen Anne's lace is totally gone past, all brown, with its flower-heads converted into little light brown cups of hairy seeds.

The raspberries are ending their year too - their bright green leaves edged with reddish brown to compliment their thorny red canes.

Some vestiges of summer remain, though - constellations of white, yellow and purple wildflowers dot the grassy banks, and white, yellow and reddish butterflies make their final rounds.

Soon the cool, then cold rains will fall, and then ice and snow, and only the hardiest will show green or move about.

But for now it has been a good year, harvests of nuts and seeds gathered and lardered up, fat layered on for the cold months, tubers grown, and sweet sap and starch stored away in roots.

Perhaps, as our world surveys it's larder this fall, in the midst of plenty, we should likewise survey our larders, both physical and spiritual.

Do we have enough? Can we make it for a few hard months? How about our neighbors? Can they stand a cold season? A hard season? How about our families?

How about our spirit? Do we strive to live up to our faith, caring for all, and walking with God? And if we are satisfied with all of these questions, can we reach farther, seeking to share knowledge, do justice, create opportunity, and bring light to dark places?

These things build for us a larder in heaven, one which will never run out and cannot be spoiled, a harvest that is truly, finally and safely gathered in.

May you celebrate thankfully a fruitful and blessed year.


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