In the nearly two weeks since I last posted, something has changed. The morning is dark. My walk down the driveway is now in nighttime. My eyes search for the rolled-up paper in the faint shadows of a streetlight. Stars and a bright Venus sparkle in the morning sky, or dark clouds hang like blindfolds in the sky.
Autumn has arrived. We open windows to pull the cool air inside. The dogwoods have turned from green to red and gold. Fallen oak leaves litter the lawn and driveway. The lawn has gone unmowed for two weeks, and the lapse is not apparent.
This is my favorite time of year, when the chill in the air invigorates me, when the clear sky develops a deeper shade of blue, when summer's oppressive humidity relinquishes its bodily squeeze. My thoughts turn to mountain escapes and apples and the scent of burning leaves. My mind recalls Saturday afternoons in a college football stadium and my little children, parents themselves now, giggling in Halloween costumes. The harvest celebrations of our agricultural past linger in these traditions of decorated pumpkins, Indian corn decorations and Thanksgiving. But we are as far removed from harvest fields as we are from the horse-drawn plow.
One evening soon, we will sit before the fire fueled by natural gas and imagine the aroma of burning oak and the crackle of pine knots bursting into flame. Winter will envelope us, and we will snuggle for warmth and light candles through the long hours of winter darkness as the sun rises late, rides low through the day and sets early. In the dark night we will celebrate the light and the warmth, and we will wait for the days to grow longer once again.