October Breeze

Cinnamon and sage, straw men on display
Warm apple pie begs my feelings sway.
Pinecone and apple; the leaves try to grapple
with the truth they soon must drift away

And two lovers are holding hands beneath a maple tree;
The lonely cast a watchful eye and dream of what might be.

Cocoa and amber, a hay ride and campfire,
Pedestrians in disguise for candy glee
The harvest moon is shining, the pumpkins are smiling
And autumn fruit is ripe on the tree

And the lovers snuggle closer, keeping warm beneath the tree;
The lonely gaze up at the sky and dream of what might be.

Daylight fades faster as soon comes November,
But for now I bask in the cool October breeze

And the lovers have said goodnight to that old maple tree;
The lonely close their weary eyes and dream of what might be.

(“October Breeze” by yours truly)

Fall has become my favorite time of year, replacing the snows of winter and the longer days of summer. Yes autumn is the best time of year. As for spring… does “Ah-choo!” ring a bell? Yeah. Spring ain’t my friend.

What do I enjoy most about the autumn? I really enjoy:

  1. 271541205_6a5302f305_oThe imagery. Halloween stuff aside, I like the hay bales and pumpkins, and the colors of brown, cranberry, sage and orange. I like the friendly scarecrows (an oxymoron, I know) and the colorful leaves. I really like the Thanksgiving decorations and the “bless this house” and “in all things give thanks” messages.
  2. tree leaves blownThe first cold front of fall. I’ll never forget the thrill of opening my front windows in North Texas as a most pleasant chill filled the air, brought by the wind to replace the humidity and heat of a summer that wouldn’t seem to end. That first cold front of fall is like a cleansing of the atmosphere, a rebirth of sorts. And it fills my spirit with energy.
  3. xmas_tree-01Christmas decorations!!!!!! OK, I know I’m a wee bit crazy about the holidays but seeing this year’s decorations line up on store shelves fills me with the Christmas spirit. The arrival of fall signals the final countdown to Christmas and that really excites me. Let the four-month celebration begin!!!!!!!

As this fall sets in, I find myself in the mountains of South-Central New Mexico, where it is unseasonably warm but the locals tell me it will be one brutal winter ahead. “Fourteen feet of snow!” they warn. “You won’t be able to leave your house for days! Better have enough firewood…” Just to prove the point, one neighbor keeps passing in front of my property with trailer load after trailer load of firewood.

Of course, other locals say those locals are blowing smoke and trying to scare a Texan into leaving, which I will gladly do at the first sign of a fourteen-foot snow drift….

A few weekends ago we had the Golden Aspen Bike Rally here in Ruidoso, when hundreds of leather-clad biker dudes and babes invaded the tourist areas and hotels. The rally is supposed to coincide with a natural autumn event here during which the aspen trees up on the higher mountains turn a brilliant shade of yellow before losing their leaves. I got to witness it two years ago here and, to even greater effect, near Santa Fe, and it was really cool. But this year the aspens are delaying their big show. It’s just too warm, I guess.

“Proof!” my neighbor, Mac, told me. “Proof! Fourteen feet of snow, I tell ya. And that’s on a good day!” Mac thinks the later that it is warm, the colder the winter will be. I’ll have to talk to the National Weather Service about that…

However, another neighbor, Vince, told me, “See all of those those does (female deer)? Have you noticed how many of them have little babies right now?” “Yeah, I’ve noticed,” I replied. “Little ones are all over the place.”

“Well, that just shows that even the deer don’t think this is going to be a bad winter. They’d never drop their fawns this late in the season. They know something we don’t know. Always trust Mother Nature.”

Vince is a Native American and, I assume, a man of the land. Roger, on the other hand, is a man of science. Conspiracy science.

Roger, who is my neighbor down the street and the apparent new owner of a 300-foot-tall pile of firewood, dropped by my place the other day. “You ready for winter?” he asked me. I walked over to his truck in my shorts and t-shirt, suntan lotion and wide-brimmed hat, and replied, “I guess so! I’m leaving.”

Roger is a big proponent of the “El Nina” theory of mass winter extinction. Or snowfall. Or cold weather. Or… well, he believes in it. The warm water effect in the Pacific Ocean is believed by many to be the upcoming cause of a bitterly cold winter in the western United States. Whenever I talk to Roger, I seem to have dreams of tropical beaches and suntans… go figure.

But first there is the fall, a season of cinnamon and sage, of pumpkins smiling and hayrides, of candy-craving children and cool October breezes. I hope your fall is a really good one!

I’m getting out of Dodge before the snowpocalypse hits…

— John