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Meadow_AutumnIf I haven’t mentioned it lately, life is hectic. Our library re-opening is Sunday, and there is a flurry of e-mails zipping back and forth as we get things together. Months of work are nearing fruition. Hundreds of books cataloged and stamped, filed and stacked.

We were blessed with a huge donation from a past rector who died, leaving us a significant portion of his home library. So many amazing books. I never knew him, but I’m told his teaching was awesome and filled with learning opportunities. His books, I know are beyond compare. I have a few of them myself, but saw literally dozens I can barely wait to read.

Speaking of which, I’m reading a ton of things. My EFM class is on Genesis and I’m steeped in various biblical scholars. The amazing talents of those ancient people continue to literally blow me away. Such beautifully constructed theological formulae. There is a pastoral richness that is breathtaking.

Add to that the now more common unsolicited books being sent to me by publishers to be read and reviewed, and the gift of a lifetime, a dear blogging friend has sent his manuscript to me for reading and comment. Lucky am I indeed, though more hours in the day would be appreciated.

As I walked the meadow today, I paid close attention to the changes. I’m not sure the average city or suburban dweller notices what is common to us. The subtleties are probably lost on them. They notice that the mornings are darker, the air a bit chillier, and a few leaves are across the lawn.

For us countrified folks the changes are big. The fields are drying out. Van Gogh would be proud to paint the bean fields. Swaths of yellow, bits of green, and sandy browns interweave in a mosaic of infinite complexity and impressionistic colors blending and swirling as they dance across the acres.

The corn fields are mostly a bit behind, the browning is confined mostly to the lower halves, while the green still holds command of the tops. Everything else? You would call them weeds, we just call them grass. Grass such as we have, not mown nor groomed, just wildly growing in dizzy and disjointed patches.

These grasses are of varying types and size, shape and color. They dance to their own tunes as it were. Some are seeding, many have already. They are black or near black, seeds long dispersed. Some have heads that are delicate feathery fingers with tiny seed swaying on the tips. Where only a couple of weeks ago, field yellow daisies danced in the breeze, today are browned, dried heads, awaiting the moment to be right when they can burst forth and send forth their collection of future hope.

Then there are the new daisies, tiny, floribundas of white with tiny yellow faces. Only a few inches high, they high light the fence. The clover is still bright green, their seeding duties long past. A single stalk of goldenrod stands stately in its loneliness here and there. Yellow is the theme of fall.

The birds are quiet or quieter. No more bright praises of the summer do they sing. Now it is all business. Either the business of preparing for a winter in the meadow or preparing for the trip south. They practice in formations, calling and directing, teaching and renewing flying pal acquaintances. The new must be readied for their first trip. They are not nearly as curious of humans as before.

Evidence of the usual movement of animals is always to be seen. The deer move up and down the lane nightly, leaving tracks that signify buck from doe and doe from little one. They too are preparing, the males starting to feel the stirring in loins long dormant from pleasure. The young are unsure, aware that change is coming, but what that entails they as yet have no idea. Nervous must define them, as they sometimes get caught unawares in the field and scurry for cover in the slues, sleeping the day away hopefully safe.

It’s been dry as a bone for a couple of weeks, and everything is covered with a fine film of granite sand, powdery dust. It covers the box that sits near the road, concession to delivery trucks. My books usually are left there. No fear of stealing, the car has sat there all summer, now covered in dust, with the keys laying on the floor. No one touches these things but the creatures that poke and prod from curiosity.

Raccoon paws abound on surfaces. Nosy little bandits, waddling. I name them all Ricky. A new generation inevitably takes its chances in the meadow, and the old guy, Bear, continues to kill off a fair share, not allowing the  female to come near for a day or two, then turning over possession. Archaeologists will wonder indeed at all the bones, wondering what these people did with hedgehogs, coons, possums and rabbits. We nary ate a one, and except for the rabbits neither did the dogs. Deer are another issue. We both gnaw on venison, raw in their case, cooked in ours.

At night the coyotes howl. Mostly the youngsters being kicked from the teet. Angry, frightened, nervous, excited, they sing in the meadow and cause the dogs to howl warnings in return. It is autumn. We are tightening down, winding down, tucking in.

 It will soon be cold, miserable, wet, unforgiving days of snow and sliding off roads. We will cry out in anger at it all, swear it’s never been so miserable, so cold, so snowy. We will claim we can’t take it any more. That is what is in store, but today, it is still autumn, taunting us of warmth still lingering, sun still brightening, breezes still southerly. Quietly let it sink within your bones, for it is fleeting. Peacefully let it seep deep to sustain in the months to come. The sabbath cometh.

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