Old Sol closes his sleepy eyes a little sooner each day and the shadows grow longer. Angry winds shake the forest releasing a blizzard of drying leaves throughout my mountains. The days of the sun are well behind me now and every day the splendor of fall is washed away in the cold rain. And yet here in the shelter of my little home between two mountains a few colorful leaves still cling to branches. They flutter like triumphant little flags waving in defiance of the coming changes. The beech leaves have faded from a rich golden tone to light tan and that is sign for me to prepare my hearth for quiet days by the fire. The season always makes me reminisce of my childhood when the soft purple light fell across the land and a heavy Appalachian quilt was a fine winter cocoon for a day of laying on the couch and watching old reruns on TV. Old black and white westerns provided a connection that spanned the decades between myself and the boy my father was on those days that we watched together. I think about how much things have changed. In those days the fireplace was a heavy iron stove fueled by oak and hickory. In the mornings the first person awake would rekindle the fire from the leftover coals. It wasn’t so odd for a pre-teen to have that responsibility. I remember carefully placing the smaller pieces of wood into place with old newspapers and junk mail and soon the heat from the coals would catch them on fire. As the fire grew we could add a few big pieces of wood. Late fall weekends were special because we could put a pot of stew on that old wood stove and let it slowly simmer all day. The whole house smelled wonderful and by dinner time we just couldn’t wait to dip out a bowl.
Today, my gas fed ceramic log fireplace comes on by itself and the stews are made in 45 minutes in a computerized crock but that feeling of shelter is still the same. I can even broadcast old black and white shows to my smart TV from my smartphone while I lay back in my recliner with my pup on my lap as the wind and shadows shake the leaves outside my window.
Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.
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