Here in the lovely autumn of the Appalachians, the sun streamed through the abundance of multicolored leaves still clinging to the trees. It was a day when I was compelled to take that last walk, look at my marigolds and asters one more time. The were so beautiful, it seemed that they were at their very peak.
But, I had read the weather forecast in the newspaper. The first frost was expected tonight. In the morning, the ground would be white with the first ice of winter, flowers would have that dark color, death awaiting the sun’s first glimmer, and that being their last. Winter.
We wait at the school bus stop in the summer sun. The air conditioner is on high at 7:30 a.m. It just cannot be that summer is over. There is a dogwood tree that I watch, next to a wild aster. They are my calendar, my watching, waiting for fall to come.
One foggy day, the dogwoods leaves have a tinge of red, now the berries show their cardinal souls. The aster that has looked like an ugly weed all summer explodes into a wild white bush, excited, thankful bees all around. Relax, close your eyes, fall has come.
It had been an exhausting trip for Colleen, but, finally she was at the front of the pub that had belonged to her family in England for over 150 years. Colleen, having been born in Georgia, in the United States had heard of this place since she was a child, sitting on her Grandpa’s knee.
Her Grandpa had always called her his, “Irish Colleen”, with her flowing red tresses. Suddenly, it felt real, she WAS that “Irish Colleen”.
“Colleen!” a voice shouted. She looked ahead in astonishment. Her cousin, Siobahn, was her mirror image! Grandpa was right! Irish genes were strong!
It was a simply beautiful spring day.” She thought. She couldn’t help but take in the tiny buds on flowers, mosses, now growing on damp stones, even the azure sky over head seemed especially lovely.
She reached down and gently lifted a rotting log, encased in a curly gray lichen. Just as she picked it up, a shiny creature writhed towards the from underneath the log
It’s just a blue-tailed skink, laughed her brother, a lizard!
She felt a little foolish, still, after all the excitement, she was sure the memory of this spring adventure would remain with her always.
After ten days of rain, the creeks had turned into raging rivers, fields where corn had just begin to show hope, were lakes of muddy brown. Roads had washed away in the loud, angry torrents.
Suddenly, the heaviness of water became too much for the steep, over developed vistas. Firetrucks warned the wealthy residents to get out-now. Forget packing the fancy furnishings, the mountain was giving away!
Our 1920′s bungalow sat safely on a gentle hill, above the swirling waters, below the sliding cliff sides. Now, the moist air was expectantly pleasant. In nature, all man is equal.
School was out for the summer at last. Families toured the bird reserve.
Everyone seemed happy, except poor Lillith, neatly spinning her web on a high post that she hoped would be out of the view of visitors who may not like her. She was beautiful, a young Black and Yellow Argiope (some called her a garden spider). She was useful, she dined on insects that humans did not admire.
The sun was setting, she had caught five meals, and was ready to settle down for the night.
“Goodnight, Lillith” I whispered. ” I will check on you tomorrow.”
She looked down at her beautiful green eyes, the look of thick black eyeliner around them and smiled.
“Oh, my beautiful!” she sighed, Parting is such sweet sorrow!” M’Lady’s whirls of black seemed to shimmer in the light. That picture would remain with her each day.
The tabby rubbed her legs, and purred. Sonja picked her up and scratched her under her chin as M’Lady looked up at her as if she were in heaven.
she could take her with her to the Bahamas.
“I wonder if she has any idea that I am going on vacation for a month?” Sonya though.
She glanced at her suitcases, wishing she could take her along.
She sat in the chair, staring at the wizened old lawyer.
“Zats vat it says” he uttered in his very European accent, for the third time. “I leave my great neice Victoria, who bears my name, my hotel in Winterthur, Svitzerlund.”
“I didn’t even know I had an Aunt Victoria!” Vicki exclaimed. “And where the heck is Winterthur, and what hotel?”
He handed her the photo, his hand shaking. It was the hotel she had seen on Modern Murder Mysteries on her favorite TV show last week.
He stood at the end of the trailer’s living room, yelling, cussing, throwing things, like he always did when he was angry.
She, of course, was in the hall by the washer, crying, her face speckled. red streaks, tears dripping onto her shirt.
“I’m so sick of your bitchin, woman!” he shouted from the doorway, ready to run out, after he had yelled his final insult, stomped and delivered his final accusation.
“Just step over the line and see what happens.” he yelled as he went for the door. As the line was crossed, he stared in silence.
It happens every March here in the mountains. Right after a cold spell, the sun will come out. It will warm the earth, causing flowers to bud and bloom. Those of us who love to garden will rush to the hardware store. We buy top soil and seeds. We dig up dead grasses, sprouting weeds.
Spring is here at last! A few glorious days of warmth. Fragile lilacs burst forth. We want so badly to forget what the unseasonal weather meant. It is not spring, not really, not yet. Grandpa called it Dogwood winter. I just sigh and call it disappointment.