Posts Tagged ‘changing seasons’

IMG_6421My posts seem to be arriving as sporadically as Spring. Business and busyness are wiggling their way into my life these days.  I wonder about your life as well.

We had a quiet Easter Sunday here on the Cutoff. Following a moving church service and a time of fellowship with good friends, we wound our way home, taking the scenic route through towns with estates, down country-like roads. on to the vast acreage of the Cook County Forest Preserves. We do this as often as we can, appreciating the beauty that anchors our lives, feeling fortunate and blessed to live so close nature and thankful of those who came before us who preserved such large areas of forest and prairie, fens and marshes, trees and wildflowers.

We were also on a mission. Earlier in the week I noticed a flock of birds, unfamiliar to me, who had congregated along the shore of the nearby Saganashkee Slough. I will write more about them in another post, but, below is a photo of our migratory visitors.


Once home, our cameras loaded with nature shots,and a few of my feet or Tom’s nose, we each found a nest of our own to nestle in, relax, read, watch television, even take a little nap. It is good to relax and refresh sometimes.

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A big meal really wasn’t practical for just the two of us, but, a nice dinner, by candlelight, filled with flowers and reflection rounded out our Easter.  It was a simple supper; pork tenderloin (which I stuffed with apples and raisins), fresh, roasted asparagus spears, and baked sweet potatoes. Peter Rabbit joined us, munching on his carrot, and I, dear reader, felt once again the warmth of the season before us, the sacrifice so long ago behind made, and the hope of what lies ahead.

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I hope you are enjoying your emerging season, whether here in the northern hemisphere where the grass is turning greener and trees are showing buds, or you are enjoying autumn and look toward the  winter ahead in the southern hemisphere. I wish you peace as you begin your week, and soon a new month.





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Come said the wind to
the leaves one day,
Come o’re the meadows
and we will play.
Put on your dresses
scarlet and gold,
For summer is gone
and the days grow cold.  

 A children’s song of the 1880’s

The days are closing in now, here on the Cutoff. The air is crisp, the colors sharp. Leaves carpet the ground, stuff the eaves, and decorate the tops of cars as the trees bare their souls in anticipation for the winter to come.

We have days of heat and humidity still, but, more  and more days of refreshing, cooler temperatures. The night air carries brisk breezes as the crickets correspond in the moonlight and the frogs keep up their low, liquid stream of primal conversations.

The other day, late afternoon, as dinner warmed in the oven,  I spent an hour attending to potted plants that were spent of their summer splendor, sweeping leaves off the deck.The leaves, dear friend, filled a large trash can and end up in the compost pile. The deck looked neat and welcoming as we sat down to dinner inside. As we ate, we could hear the wind kick up. A pot was blown over, the trees scraped the air and anything else in their way. A few, caught in filaments of spider webs,  flitted like butterflies as the temperature fell a good 20 degrees in about as many minutes.

As to the deck, well, it looks like it did – before I cleaned it.

Lamps and overhead lights come on earlier as darkness creeps in sooner each day. It is a time for candles and hot cider, soups and corn bread. It is, after all, sweet Autumn.

I love the changes in colors and the mellowing of the landscape that evolves in this season. There is a heady fragrance that permeates the air.  Just yesterday, I kept telling my Tom that I was smelling maple syrup. I am wondering now if it isn’t the coverlet of sycamore leaves that are bunched up after their night of tossing and turning just outside of the back door. The leaves have a faint maple scent. Oh, dear; I now have a craving for waffles, made in my mother’s waffle maker; an even more aged antique than me.

Such it is with Autumn and me; we seem to have a relationship that conjures up memories and heightens senses as it kisses me with all her splendor.

Do you enjoy Autumn? Do you have a favorite season? For those of you where spring is coming, how are your days and nights?

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DSCN4483Armed with a rake and a shovel, I could hear the lilt of a Baltimore oriole. They always seem to nest in the same tree, high atop the canopy of the Cutoff, usually somewhere just south of heaven atop the stately old sycamore. When I’m lucky, I can see his bright orange chest against the bald, white bark of the tree. Not this day, however, as his voice came floating down to me in the early morning crisp. I scratched the beds, unveiling the newly emerged shoots of ferns and the leaves of poppies, the tips of hostas and the wide green leaves allium, their buds just starting to swell.

We did not get the leaves raked out of the flower bids before the first snow of winter. I fretted, as gardeners are wont to do, but, it seems it may have been the best of things, after all. Although I am in a frenzy to rake it all out now. With two acres and a considerable number of large trees, there is much to do this year. As I continue uncover bits  of our plots, I find that there has not been all that much damage to the plants. I do believe that the carpet of leaves, several inches in depth, followed by three feet of snow, provided an insulated blanket for the perennials.

So, dear reader, it was a busy weekend. Our community garden was officially opened, seasonal plant stands were in the full flush of blooms and buyers, and the first of the outdoor art shows popped up under tents in an historic park, under the magnolia blooms.

I hope your weekend was as full of wonder and appreciation for nature as mine was, whether in the throes of spring in the northern hemisphere, or in the slowing down season of fall in the southern.


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The trees are mostly barren now, their spectacular colors swept into breezy drifts of crinkled mounds of yellow and orange and red; onto the grass, the drive, hither and yon. We had such a glorious fall here on the Cutoff, I know, but today I felt the first bite of winter nipping at my heels.

We still haven’t had a hard frost, but the air has turned colder. Mornings are crisp and evening comes early with candles and lamplight guiding our way. The furnace has kicked on and I needed my gloves this morning as I started the car. Not for long. Just long enough to herald a change in seasons.

Soups and stews have replaced grilled chicken out on the deck and summer shirts and sandals have all been switched to winter sweaters and cozy socks.

Oddly enough, today had the feel of snow coming. Temperatures reached fifty degrees, but the clouds were dramatic, heavy and grey with patches of blue here and there as the sun kept shifting its focus.

I thought of it all as I went about my day’s business. The cold, the dark, the comfort of home with its welcoming glow of light and warmth and comfort. As I thought my thoughts went again to all those on the East Coast who have battled the winds and waters and wrath of Hurricane Sandy. I thought of their unimaginable losses in the wet and cold and dark and fear, and I felt humble and hopeful all at the same time, thinking thoughts of recovery and comfort in the days and weeks and long months ahead for my countrymen and women to the east. My prayers are with them.

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A change in the air

The spiders are already spinning their webs, attaching their long strands of sticky silk to anything and everything, usually at about the level of my eyes. We walk into their almost invisible threads going out the door, to the car, across the deck, and through the arbor. There was one today, very neatly attached to the back of a chair on the deck. From there, it reached across to the morning glories, where it caressed a tendril. I sure wish I’d seen it before I started watering. I’m still picking it out of my hair! It could have been worse. I could have been talking.

The tree frogs and locusts are still making their presence known, humming through the afternoon and long into the night. The crickets have joined them. The string section of nature’s orchestra. Every year, for as long as I can remember, one cricket always manages to get into the house. It is part of the ritual of fall – finding out where the cricket is hiding so one can finally get to sleep.

Three bold and magnificent bucks have been appearing in the early evenings. Their antlers are magnificent. They are busy courting the ladies, who aren’t as attentive to the little ones these days. Pulling out of drive around noon, we noticed three fawn having recess in the front yard. At first, one looked like he was shedding, which didn’t make sense. The little rascal was covered in freshly mown grass. He looked quite like a child caught with his hands in the cookie jar.

The sun seems to glance at us at a different angle. The days are growing shorter. We will still have some hot days, but,  cooler weather has settled for a spell. The robins aren’t as noticeable, but a trio of fledgling orioles were entertaining me the other day out the library window. They were hopping about, eating something off of the Rose of Sharon. I’ve never seen them before this time of year.

A change is in the air. It is subtle, but, there, and seems to have come a tad early this year. The first of the leaves are starting to fall. Soon, the lawn will be carpeted with Autumn’s harvest of leaves. I won’t rush it, for there will work to do in the raking and hauling and shredding. I won’t rush it. Instead I’ll watch the butterflies float and the bees go about making honey, and I’ll sit for a spell, here and there, through my day, like this moth I caught napping on the native asters.

Are you noticing any signs of the seasons changing where you live?

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