The songbirds that warbled so melodiously all through the long summer days have massed together and winged their way to a warmer clime. Warm fall days seem to have flown along with the birds, as the hills today are drenched in a cold, monotonous rain that keeps on falling. The goldenrod is no longer golden, but dry and brown. The tall Joe-Pye weed bends a drooping gray head toward the ground, while the underbrush wears a coat of increasing brown.
The maple tree outside Mom’s bedroom window that blazed with brilliant yellow a few short days ago has discarded that golden coat and piled it around the trunk. The trees hit their peak of color that only lasted two or three days. Already the continued rain is softening the grip of leaves on the trees and they are floating downward. You inquired about my mother’s condition: It has been two steps forward and three steps back since we brought her home from the hospital. It is hard for her to gain strength with no appetite, and her fighting spirit has diminished. Today has been more heartening, as she has eaten some and is more alert mentally. God knows what is best, and we are trusting Him to take care of her.
November has changed from the usual flamboyant robes of autumn into more somber shades of bronze and brown. Brown leaves fall upon brown hillsides, covering the earth for the advent of colder weather. Winter is nipping at the heels of autumn, anxious to put the land to sleep. Rather than being a depressing time, as some folks think, late fall is restful to me. It is a time to enjoy home and family, with the house warm and cozy while cold rain patters on the roof. We hunger after hearty soups and stews, and spicy cookies fresh from the oven. Black walnuts harvested from our own West Virginia woods are used in cakes, cookies and candies. A bowl of buttery popcorn and kinfolk gathered around in lively conversation make home a happy place.
To see a spiral of smoke trailing upward from a chimney on a cold, frosty morning gives me a sense of comfort in knowing that inside that home there is warmth and cheer. It is the same warm, secure feeling I get when I see lamplight shining through the window of a home on a cold, dark night. Its rays shine out to welcome the tired and weary members of that family back into the bosom of the home.
The moon is neatly sliced in two this evening, and jet vapors trail sooty fingers across the shell pink sunset. It has been a mild November day, with mellow sunshine turning a grove of beech trees to burnished gold. The air had just enough nip in it to be invigorating, although the night promises to be much cooler. When night comes, I like to think back over the day and remember if I have spoken a harsh word in haste to anyone. If I have, I want to make amends before I go to sleep.
We think of the wild flowers of spring and summer, and how they bloomed in perfect loveliness. They sprung up and were admired and praised for their beauty. Now the cold wind of autumn has passed over the land, and the wild flowers are no more. The place where they bloomed is barren, and there is no trace of their existence. November brings falling leaves and crisper temperatures, and also that homey holiday called Thanksgiving. Many folks are making plans to come home for that day, for the heart seems to yearn for home when holidays roll around. It is sad when a person is far away and can’t get home for those special times.
Bless you and yours and have a Happy Thanksgiving.
Cousin Alyce Faye