It rained on the first day of autumn at the rabbit patch. It rained all day, as it had, for several days before. The streets in the small town I work in, flooded and the rabbit patch became full of puddles and mud. When rain falls day after day, it seems to alter time. One day was as gray as the one before it and there seemed to be little evidence of when the morning ended . Afternoons became evenings and the evenings became night. It was almost mysterious, but in that way the days passed til now -and suddenly it is Autumn.
The calendar marks the day of the first day of autumn, but I will be glad when the dogwoods and sweetgums declare it themselves. When the wind blows with a coolness , enough to make me wear a sweater and the path in the young woods lays before me, golden-then will it be autumn at the rabbit patch. I will wait til woodsmoke claims the air and the pine trees yield straw- and I will know by that.
I am thankful to live where seasons change. I love something about every one of them. I don’t know that I can love one any more or less than the others , for each has a beauty that I declare is my favorite, when I am in the midst of it.
It is customary to decorate at the rabbit patch when a season arrives. A few yellow chrysanthemums and a few orange pumpkins will do the porch good. I have already hung a grapevine wreath with a scarlet ribbon and I tie ribbons on the bird feeders too, though country birds hardly ever attend one. They are an independent lot and do not “cotton” to fancy varieties of store-bought seeds, unless it snows. Until then, they are quite content with the french mulberry that grows wild in the woods.
Autumn time seems like a celebration of all the things before it, to me. The trees that have fed us and given us shade, when we needed it, will dress themselves up for the occasion of autumn. Trees in autumn are lovely things and they can convince the most solemn of folks to feel glad for the season. The morning fog can hold a lot of secrets, but it is no match for the brightness of golden leaves- for they show up anyway like candles in a dim room.
It is no wonder to me that Thanksgiving is celebrated in the fall. Everyday seems like a grand prelude that stirs gratitude in the heart til we must acknowledge the generosity of the earth itself. Autumn is “The Church in the Wildwood” that welcomes all- no matter how you find it.