…this morning over the ankle-deep piles of amber leaves at the foot of my oak trees and the delicious autumnal wind that drives down yet more in its friendly gusts…over acorns with funny little caps like tiny brownie men of the forest and prickly balls of chestnut pods already raided by the squirrels…over the perfume of eleagnus that floats down across the pasture early in the mornings and late in the afternoons…

And a cheerful little pecan wood fire on my kitchen hearth and a fragrant boil of fruits and spices on the back burner of the stove…rose hip tea and the lingering scent of cinnamon from breakfast…What a beautiful world to be alive in! 

We literally watched the leaves change this past weekend.  From a non-descript palette of dull greens and half-hearted blushes leapt an intoxicating painting of golden beeches, crimson berries and gaudy flashes of orange.  ‘Has it ever been this beautiful?’ we ask one another.  It’s the same question we pose every year.  And I really do believe that the answer is ‘no’, as it should be.  There is ever-increasing beauty in the now that is reality, that is pressing us onward each year towards the source of all True Joy.    

I often wonder why it is that in the winding down season of the year I usually feel most alive and inspired.  Of course, I may find myself saying much the same thing over the waking-up glories of spring, but I know that this keenness, this vivid delight of all my senses is truly unique to this golden time.  There is anticipation abroad—you can almost touch it in the light-filled air this morning.  Holidays and festivities to come, the most beloved traditions of the whole year all crowded together in one last flame of excitement before the calendar dies!  My mind is full of Thanksgiving in every sense of the word.  I feel so very grateful and blessed this morning, and just thought I’d send up a little rapture in praise of the Lord! 

Praise the Lord from the earth…you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and maidens, old men and children.  Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His splendor is above the earth and heavens.            ~Psalm 148


And some lovely thoughts from Keats:

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music, too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourne;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

And for one last thrilling autumnal experience, here is the second movement of my very favorite symphony, Mendelssohn’s "Scottish", Number 3.

Vivace non troppo