A restless fall wind flutters the changing leaves in the tall sycamore trees and sends many of them spiraling downward to the ground. October has laid her golden hand on the hills, with the underbrush already turning to varied shades of red and yellow.

The dogwoods are a brilliant scarlet, while the sourwoods and sumacs turn a deeper red. The lowly poison ivy vine shines in vivid shades of orange and yellow as it climbs the fence posts and twines about the tree trunks.

The leaves are fast changing their color here, although from a distance, Pilot Knob is still mostly green. It is possible to pick out individual trees now, with a line of bright yellow hickories marching up the slope of the mountain.

A few maples stand out in their red glory, but soon the rapidly changing leaves will meld the whole landscape into one vast riot of color. When our hills are draped in autumn beauty, there is nothing that can compare with it.

No matter how many fall seasons have unfolded before my eyes, it is ever a new, exciting experience. How I love it!—this glorious panorama of beauty that blesses the eye and feeds the soul! I not only want to feast my eyes upon it, but I want to stay out in it until I absorb it into my very being.

I am so thankful for the ability to climb these ever-changing hills, for eyes that can see the beauty of nature, for ears that can hear the saucy chatter of a squirrel or the lonesome cry of a whippoorwill as it bids a last goodbye. October is gone, and she filled my heart to bursting.

When the morning sun breaks through the autumn mist and shines down upon our mellow hills, my heart is filled with thanksgiving to the Maker of all this beauty. How wonderful and marvelous are the works of his hands, and how He has blessed us with his goodness.

I have been asked how I can find intense enjoyment in so many little things. I believe that it is in the simple things that we find contentment. I love the tang of wood smoke hanging in the air on a frosty morning. It tells of a wood fire that is warming a home on a chilly morning, of cheery warmth that is reaching out to the family inside.

The spicy fragrance of an apple pie hot out of the oven symbolizes a mother’s love and care, and spells “home” like nothing else can. The tender curve of a baby’s cheek, the soft touch of curls against your lips, the fat arms that encircle your neck—what can take their place? The first violet in the spring, the crisp crunch of dry leaves underfoot, a heart-stopping sunset—simple things, yet irreplaceable.

It is a simple life we live here in the hills. Centered around God, family and home, we are out of step with the world. The Bible tells us that godliness with contentment is great gain, and we have found this to be true.

It is not found in material possessions, striving for worldly honor, or the applause of men. It is not a state of perpetual happiness, for happiness is transitional, and contingent upon circumstances, moods and events. It is much deeper than surface happiness, and is rooted in God. Contentment brings happiness, yet it is not dependent upon it.

It is only when a person is at perfect peace with God, and thus with his fellow man, can he find true contentment. With food and raiment sufficient, then we can find pleasure in the simple things of life. I am one of those rare persons—a truly contented one.

I love every season that the Lord gives us—the gentle coming of spring, the fullness of summer, the glorious fall season, and the long sleep of winter. I greet each day with thankfulness and appreciation, whether it be sunny, rainy, stormy, or cold.

It has not always been that way. I can remember how it felt to roll out of bed in the morning and feel that you cannot face another day. The Lord makes the difference. Now I have peace of mind and a happy heart instead. These are the treasures that money cannot buy.

October has left us, taking her gold and stealing away. We must wrest every bit of enjoyment that we can remember as she brings to us the mercy of brown November, and the cold weather that follows.

Pilot Knob is wreathed in sunshine, illuminating the golds, yellows and reds that dot her slopes. I am reminded of the scripture in 1Chronicles 16:33 which says, “Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the Lord . . .” The trees are singing, and I must go listen.


Alyce Faye Bragg can be reached at or 2556 Summers Fork Road, Ovapa, WV 25150.

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Alyce Faye Bragg

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