Excited about autumn

Published 12:57 am Sunday, September 6, 2009

Summer no longer lingers on, usually visible in the dust motes that float in the lengthening rays of the late afternoon sun and fall leaves of drooping shrubs and trees.

These words are written during a week of recurring showers and cool early mornings. Like the plants and lawns, I too, long for the chill, silver rains of autumn and the glory of leaves burning in scarlet and gold against the cobalt blue of an October sky.

My heart hungers for this season that is so akin to those of us who are its children.

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Perhaps it will come early this year, it seems. For perhaps there will be a glorious autumn to lift our spirits, with apple wine winds to rustle the rainbow of fallen leaves and send them scampering across dun-colored fields where wild sage blows and gorse sways tall and crimson sumac glows.

Please come this year, my heart sighs.

There have been signs of summer’s end — were there not I scarce could have borne another day of stepping from the shower and into a steam bath of humidity and heat, of perspiration trickling and heat rash prickling, of inhaling, exhaling and chewing dust.

But now, just at the break of day, the doves began to coo their sad homey little sound that underlies the chatter of squirrels busy at their task of gathering acorns to store against the coming chill of winter.

Spider lilies have bloomed, although almost lost now in the beds of liriope lifting its purple heads above the green foliage. The wisteria that returns each year after year to twist and twine amid the row of ancient crepe myrtle tree is back, and a few berries in the dogwood are red, only a few but brilliant amid the dull tan leaves already rolling into withered curls. Nature needs the chill silver rains to dip its brush into for the glorious colors of autumn.

Come October we will enjoy the fun-filled week of Central Alabama Fair opening Oct. 5, the delightful Tale Tellin’ Festival Oct. 9-10, Riverfront Market Day Oct. 10 on historic Water Avenue, and the fascinating Oct. 16-17 Haunted History Tour, a welcome newcomer to Selma’s lineup of annual special events.

Let us not forget the delicious Lobster Fest at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Oct. 8 and Barbecue on the Green at Sturdivant Hall on Sept. 24.

Each Autumn I fancy that in the hum of hundreds of voices laughing and chatting at Lions Fair Park and strolling Water Avenue, in the hundreds of hands applauding in Pickard Auditorium, and the sounds of people enjoying each event as it happens lies the meaning of community.

In autumn nature’s cycle is fulfilled, birth and death add up to life. Thus the life of this community is enriched and renewed. Let us recognize and be a part of it. When the chill silver rains return we shall rejoice. Until then, let us be glad in the daily life we are given. Postscript: I am unaware of the significance of this fact: Where have the willow flies gone? For a long time passing they appeared in an unwelcome return each August and promptly fell into unpleasant piles of disintegrating wings and minute bodies. And over Pettus Bridge and Water Avenue the odor of dead fish floated for days after their demise. We shall not miss them, but of the significance to nature of their disappearance I am concerned.

However, let us rejoice in life today, and be glad.