Tuesday, September 27, 2011

With Gratitude

Autumn in the meadow, just outside our back gate

Autumn has arrived, according to the calendar, at least.

Summer is my least favorite season. But the other three seasons are simply magical. And autumn, I think, is my favorite.

I love the days becoming shorter, daylight dusking a few minutes earlier each evening. The nights cool, demanding the cozy warmth of flannel. Even the mornings are crisp, and I pile my wool cardigan atop my cotton cardigan while still wearing summer khaki capris and leather flip-flops.

The sun warms without burning, and Santa Ana winds pick up, whipping branches bare. Autumn winds can fuel fires, and living in the mountains, as we do, we're on the front lines of the battle as dry lightning ignites, or a car accident sparks, or an insane person alights dry tinder. Santa Ana winds can reach 100 miles per hour, barreling through the twisting canyons between hills and mountains on its path to the coast.

But autumn also brings spicy scents of cinnamon and nutmeg as we bake acorn squash from the community garden, sweetened with dollops of honey. Zucchini is transformed into fragrant muffins, and the first potatoes sit on the sideboard, ready to wash. T brings us the garden's bounty as his reward for working in the community garden three mornings per week.

So autumn comes, bringing cozy days and chill nights, and I find myself humming as summer heat fades, stars brighten in evening skies, and soups return to our weekly menu options.

So with autumn on its way, I join the Gratitude Community at A Holy Experience as I trudge my way toward One Thousand Gifts, thanking God this day for...

661. ...fresh organic produce from our community garden

662. ...skies whitewashed with cirrus clouds, their "mare's tails" swooping across the miles overhead

663. ...flannel pajamas on crisp nights

664. ...peach-flavored herbal teas, orchard-scented

665. ...pedaling stationary bike while reading from Kindle in the dim light of dusk

666. ...milestones reached by my little stories this week

667. ...Pippins bowing the branches, nearly ready for the picking

668. ...the gray tree squirrel cavorting on the bench beneath vanilla-fragranced Jeffrey pine

669. ...joys of teaching writing, both online and face-to-face

670. ...solace of late night peace, reading and writing when pain disallows sleep

I hope that autumn is wending its way toward winter wherever you may be, with the promises of cooler days and crisper nights. Unfortunately for us Southern Californians, September and October can contain the hottest days of the year as Santa Ana winds waft heated desert air toward the cooling waters of the Pacific....

Looking forward to cooler days,

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