WHEN THE FROST IS ON THE PUNKIN
They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.
--James Whitcomb Riley
Early autumn always brings this poem to mind. As a young Hoosier in high school English class we were always subjected to reading Riley. I find him much more tolerable, in fact downright entertaining, if you read him out loud. Riley captures in his poems a natural sense of a dying Hoosier dialect. The tone and voice is exactly what my great grandparents spoke, and sometimes that phrasing and intonation seeps into my speech patterns. Strange enough, my brother rarely exhibits the same "hickness".
We had a hard freeze last night and frost still coats the grass in the house shadow outside my office window. The air was clean and crisp when I went to get the paper in the predawn darkness.
Fall is one of my favorite times of year. I can walk the neighborhood without finding shirt and shorts soaked in sweat. I love the crunch of fallen leaves beneath my feet and the blaze of orange and red in the trees. I miss the smell of burning leaves, a smell like no other and always associated with fall in my brain.
The Christmas tree display already up at WalMart is a sad commercial reminder the first days of flying snow and permanent chill are not far away. The flashing on my computer screen reminds me I need to join a conference call.
Have a great Monday.