Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Fall

The fall is my favorite time of the year. It always has been. I found it was when the best flowers came out in Upstate New York, the best food was served and the most fun holiday activities took place.

One of my best memories growing up was taking hikes up the dirt road with my grandmother. Coming into this time of year you would see asters, golden rod and joe pie weed surrounding the pines my family had planted in the old pastures growing up. There was one section just filled with a sea of pink joe pie weed that came about half way up the pines at the time. The pines grew fast as did we so I am sure they are much taller then the flowers now. I made countless bouquets of purple asters and goldenrod filling old crystal vases that were miss matched probably purchased at a dusty smelling thrift store. The roads were lined with queen ann's lace, bird's feet, chicory and clovers. I was told that the changing colors of the flowers were a indicator of the changing seasons with the dominant purples and golds coming out in the fall. I found nature as the most reliable calendar of how close the new school season was.

One of the first trees to change was the ash just before my grandmother's house. It was in full sun and just looked like it was on fire when fall came. It was so amazing and my mind has taken many photographs of it. You would often find my grandfather on a Johndeere lawn mower underneath it. Old baseball cap (the kind with mesh on the back), white t-shirt suspenders and faded old jeans. If it was chilly he always wore a denim shirt with pearlized snap buttons.

This was the time of season you took the dogs to go black berry picking. Blackberry pie, toasted marshmallows with blackberries in the golden peeled off outside crust and blackberry jam were all key. My grandmother made the best potato bread I have ever had in my life and the most flakey crust that only grandmothers can make. Squash, pumpkins, corn, potatoes and many other garden vegetables were on the stove being canned. We greedily waited for my grandmothers mason jar canned white grape juice but knew we had to wait for the third frost before the grapes were ready.

Firewood was starting to be chopped and my grandfather would put back and forth from the woods in his Johndeere tractor from the 1940's towing behind the manure spreader turned wood hauling cart behind in the old days. The woods are filled with chainsaw sounds or the crack of a hunter's gun this time of year. You don't head out to the woods in November unless you are wearing a bright colored coat to warn hunters you are coming. I would tie a scarf on the dogs.

The crick is cold this time of year and you have to pass around the old Ford Fairlain decaying in the woods to get to it. All of the old spots like the junk car have to be inspected rediscovering the antique tricycle and old bottles that lay around it. When I started to get into photography I snapped a picture of the face like tail light. Still one of my favorites. The creek is bitter cold and refreshing. Sometimes your sneaker would let a little of the water in shocking the top edges of your foot but it was no big deal and quickly warmed up as you moved up and out of the gully. I would stop by the area where my family cut wood for years and the biggest tree in our area that my uncle had once made a tree fort in. I would visit all the big rocks that rested at the edge of the forest. They had once been in the fields and had been halled out with an old tractor and some chains.

Fall is the greatest time of year. Even when there is a chill in the air you don't feel it because of the warmth of the trees fiery glow. It is a time when you get to harvest all of the hard work you did all summer. It is a time when the country side starts to cover its self in the golden patchwork quilt of fields it had stored in a cedar chest all summer. It is a time of excitement before everyone heads off to their winter sleep. 

No comments:

Post a Comment