Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Light of Welcome

Pumpkin patch in Half Moon Bay.

Well, I could see my breath this morning as my dog and I stepped outside. There has to be some ice on the pumpkins in my neighbor's garden -- or there was, since the sun is nearly high enough now to target any lingering evidence of Jack Frost's mischief. Even though, as a kid, September meant school and the end of summer fun, autumn was different and I loved it.

I used to take long walks in the afternoon down a dirt lane near our home that, by October, was awash with huge yellow leaves that dribbled from the Cottonwoods along its path. If I timed it just right, I'd have the sunset over the Rockies as my companion -- sometimes ragingly vivid as though a forest fire out of control had been lifted into the sky.

Often as not, there wasn't a cloud to be seen and sunset was a subtle dimming of autumn light, less like a rheostat turning down than the sun itself reaching out and drawing the light behind it as it fell into the mountains. And then, the sky a wonderful blue hue fading to midnight, Venus appeared, and I wished upon her.

I can't really explain it -- maybe I'm still a kid at heart -- but for me autumn is a time of coming home, of supper with acorn squash brimming with maple syrup, of woolen sweaters and a lamp in the window. It's a time for laughter and news from far away.
It's a fire on the hearth, tea on the stove, and the light of welcome streaming through an open door.

(Image of pumpkin patch on Half-Moon Bay by J.R. Conlin via Wikipedia)
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