This past week has had all the earmarks of the beginning of my favorite season -- autumn. The neighbors started harvesting the corn crop. The temperatures dipped into the upper 30s a couple of nights and stayed in the upper 50s a day or so. Tuesday I heard a bunch of Canada Geese fly over the office. The apples trees are full of their bounty and ready to be shed of their bumper crop. There was even an archery- harvested deer hanging in the tree beside the house Tuesday morning.
I hope it wasn't a false alarm. The weatherman already is talking about temps climbing back into the 80s this week, and then leveling off in the mid- to upper-70s for a week or so. But the sights, smells and activities of fall are definitely near. And they couldn't come soon enough for this guy.
Last spring, when Jordan and I visited the farm in Arkansas, the Dogwoods had bloomed in such a magnificent way that it appeared a coverlet of lace had been spread across the hillsides of Stone County. I am in hopes of making a couple of trips to that same place this fall to enjoy the bursts of color that announce autumn in those timbered hills.
The ground under the ages-old forest will be covered with leaves from previous years, dampened by autumn rains and fog and what-have-you. The rich smell of earth will permeate the air and the breeze will bring a breath of freshness as it makes its way through the valley.
In the meadow of hay outside the edge of the timber, I expect to see a family of whitetail deer munching on the tips of the grass early in the morning and late in the evening. The sun will seem to set earlier because of the hills to the west of the property, and the morning sun will seem a little bit late by the time it peeks over the round-top hill that starts rising at the easternmost edge of the farm.
Maybe we'll take a break from working and clearing to visit nearby Star Gap Farm, where we'll walk through the corn maze, look over the pumpkin patch, and sample a fried pie or two (or even three) in the old country store.
Come round-about Thanksgiving and it will be anyone's guess as to whether we'll need to wear short-sleeved shirts, light jackets, or heavy winter coats; whether or not to bring an extra blanket to sleep under or to leave the windows open at night; and whether or not to pack snow boots instead of regular work shoes.
You never can tell. That's just autumn on the Tomahawk.