Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fall In Bloom

A backyard fire pit, snappy sparks, red lit, flying. Moonlight whispering through trees, grass, skin, eyes, oh the eyes we love, sending silent messages bigger than a Texas sky. Leaves turned cinnamon and amber, quivering and curling on limbs like tiny, arthritic hands. More eyes, laser sharp, peering through woods, raccoons or possums or skunks, perhaps, noses rising in tribute to lowly hot-dogs, sizzling and blistering on sticks. And a Cherokee fiddle. Might be all that’s missing, but no, night composes its own music.

Fall nights like these are a dozen a dime, but won’t last forever. Here in Texas we’ve only recently stepped out from hot summer shells. Four long months of broiling and we’re cooked. Ready for frosting, the frost on the pumpkin, fall frost. Time to snap out blankets, throw them on the ground, lie on backs, and wonder with dreamy eyes at the heavens, spitting out stars, swirling planets, strobe-like, suspended. I count each twinkle, never knowing how many, many, many stars, knowing never. Nights like these are a dozen a dime, but won’t last forever.

This time of year brings me back to long ago hay rides, fuzzy sweaters, snuggling, cutting through a black Mark Twain National Forest, dirt from roads settling in our hair, our smiles, carrying us right through the hard flinty winter when reflection sets in corners like mute guests.

Camp-outs too, dancing under a moon stuffed with promise, breeze in hair. And strolling beside a tinseled river with the girls, making up crap that scares them silly. And then pulled from the tent later, dead asleep, they say, “Come on, mom, come and tell stories. Our friends haven’t heard them. Oh please! We want to hear them again.”

So I do. Spin tale after tale, sleepy-eyed yet happy that ears listen.

I remember barn dances, doing the two-step, feet moving like hot grease on the griddle of floor. Pumpkin carving too, cinnamon sprinkled under the lids, spicing up night. The kids and friends jammed into our house, costumed to high heaven, watching Charlie Brown, a blanket of candy on the floor, and still trick-or-treaters banging down the door. Wanting more. And, yes, this yet goes on.

Fall in bloom.

What are your fall favorites?