“Oh, it’s a long, long, time from May to December, but the days grow short when you reach September….And these few precious days, I spend with you”….”A spectacular old song that catches the magic of the season on these early, golden fall days. Every corner in our inch of the world seems busy.
Yesterday, for instance, perhaps it was nothing more than warm streaks of sunlight, shadow dancing on the weather vane in the back yard; or a roadside stand, madly red with apple displays. Or maybe that old sign on a rural grocery store promising ‘real sweet,’ sweet potatoes. Devilish looking scarecrows; and mums, so finely colored with stunning brush strokes, they would take your breath away.
From the time I pulled out of the driveway my spirits were soaring. And there were, bits and pieces of some old haunting melody that continued to play in my head throughout the day.
What is it then about this changing of the guard: This fall, this breathtaking beauty of God’s handiwork. Yes sometimes it seems there is always that unexpected wistfulness guarding our treasured moments: that sudden quickening of the pulses, rich days, never quite long enough to fill all the needs of the soul. Alas fall beckons and entices us to “shake a leg.”
Occasionally though, we must all slow down, if only for sunsets and streams. God’s little extras; water, soother of the soul. Sunsets, heavens curtains closing on another blessed day of life. What a mixed bag of pleasures and sorrows our lives sometimes are.
I remember visiting relatives in the Piedmont area one such, long-ago Indian summer of my youth. They lived in one of those sturdy little towns that had first attained prosperity through tobacco and had clung to it, with a mix of light industry and easy proximity to granddaddy, “Raleigh.”
It was hot, North Carolina hot. Unusually muggy; a day still begging for water. The adults moved slowly and lazily, handkerchiefs mopping sweaty brows, as they stretched out on the old porch that wrapped around the house like an ice cream cone.
We ate, we watched the moon and evening stars until bugs and general weariness grabbed us out of our watery perches. Reluctantly, we headed home. It had been a fine day. Not a care in the world. And had the angels sung, we would have been there to hear them!
I remember we felt wild and free, so grownup that summer. Left alone by tired parents to our own devices, we explored and discovered something more of life. Little did we realize that our particular freedom already symbolized the ending of an era, and our adventurous spirits were already slipping further and further away from the touch of our parent’s hands.
Of course they knew we were almost ready to fly. Parents cast long shadows. They would eventually just watch from the sidelines and give us their greatest gift of all, the chance to grow and find our own way home. And somehow we always did.
So life flows on, too quickly it seems, passing this gift of living; those ponds and sunsets from one generation to the next. And memories of all these special times, will gently shape, gently add another layer of gold to our lives.
Micki Cottle was a long-time columnist for The Sampson Independent and is currently a member of the Sampson Historical Society.