Thursday, October 18, 2012

Falling for Autumn

There are many old farms and plantations in the Shire.
Fields of corn, cotton, peanuts, and beans 
are still planted in the spring and harvested in the fall,
as they have been on Virginia lands for centuries.
But many more acres have been developed into strip malls and neighborhoods.
Over the years, large working fields have given way to urban sprawl
--the story is the same all over the United States.
And yet come autumn, suburbanites and city dwellers flock to garden centers
in search of dried ears of corn, bales of straw, squash,
and pumpkins, lots of pumpkins.
Every October, they transform their homes into bastions of old-time harvest.
I call it "falling for autumn."

A local garden center even offers an autumn decorating package,
 which includes a couple of ears of corn, a bale of straw, 
one or two pumpkins, jewel-colored chrysanthemums,
and all the items needed to build a scarecrow on-site.
It's hugely popular.

I'm not much interested in adding those things to my yard each fall 
since what is placed outside must also eventually be removed.
The prospect of lugging a bale of  straw in and out of my car
then dragging it to the yard,
and weeks later after the autumn glow has turned cold,
to the curb on trash day--
I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

But I do like to decorate my front door with a wreath
my father made for me from the grapevines on his farm.
For the past couple of years,
I've added chrysanthemums and pumpkins on the porch.
If I had a black cat sunning itself on the front step,
the display would be about perfect.

This year I've added a few red, ivory, and pumpkin-colored pansies:

It's a fun way to celebrate the change of seasons.
And one of these days, who knows?
I might go all out and build my own scarecrow
and post him next to a bale of straw in the front yard.
And then again, I might just keep the flowers
and wait for that black cat.

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