Autumn Anticipation

Written by the late James R. May. Originally published in the Oologah Lake Leader, circa 1993. may

I have lived in several states and visited many others. No matter what the other differences, I have noticed one distinct similarity. There comes a day each year when the day changes from summer to autumn. It has nothing to do with geographic location or “official” seasonal changes. There comes a day late in the year that is suddenly, yet subtly, different.

It is a day that the air becomes a little thicker and richer. Sounds seem to carry differently. Think back to the summer sound of the crack of a baseball and bat tearing vigorously through the air. Now, think ahead a few days and consider the sound of the thump of a foot and football colliding. Being different objects, they will certainly sound different. Now think about the cheers of the crowd. Same number of people, frequently in the same stadium but an entirely different sound is the result. The fall air makes the sound richer and fuller.

That certain day in autumn, the sound not only changes, but there too, is a change in the sunlight. The colors of autumn sunshine are richer, more vibrant shades of gold. The harsh bright yellow of summer has mellowed to dusky orange.

These subtle changes are a clue to other changes that are or will soon be happening in Green Country. The air clears as the haying and mowing seasons conclude. At first singly, then in small clusters, and finally in brilliant orange and  black ranks, come the monarch butterflies. They add spectacular brilliance to the skies of Oklahoma as these winged nomads make their way to Mexico. Living in a monarch flyway has to be a very special blessing.

As the first puffs of the Alberta Clippers of winter promise roll across the Oklahoma hills, other northern messengers arrive to herald the coming winter. Small bands of Canadian geese honk their way south. These literal early birds travel leisurely, feeding and resting on the long voyage to southern breeding grounds. Those that tarry too long will be forced to fly at a faster pace and sometimes by full moon to escape the frigid winter winds.

All of the wonders are God’s gift to us mere mortals. We have only to look up and to look about to experience such priceless treasures. It is difficult to see such wonders when we are looking only at our own trifling troubles.

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