Autumn Flowers

Following the wonderful occasion of my getting my first haircut in over two months, we decided to expand our rare outing to take a ride in the country, see if any autumn color was showing along the creeks.

It has been seven weeks since we were struck with COVID-19. At this point, Charles is still on oxygen, still coughing some, and definitely not up to his usual strength. He has gained back three or four of the fifteen pounds he lost. Unfortunately, I have found the few pounds I lost! But fortunately I’m able to move freely in my kitchen and, with a walker, to make those rounds in the driveway (we’re almost to a mile a day!). We are still secluding until we’re well enough to have the flu shot. But it was a joy to get out and ride around a “country block.”

Quickly we realized that, fall leaf color or not, fall flowers are blooming in abundance.

Goldenrods bloom in thick profusion on the roadsides, along the fences. Red, blue, and pink morning glories festoon themselves amongst the goldenrods or climb fence posts. Other flowers, particularly a dainty white one blooming close to the ground, join in the picture of wild beauty. In front of pretty homes roses still bloom. Pots of chrysanthemums make splashes of color on many porches.

We drove in and out of short stretches of live oak canopies. I always love to see the shadow patterns on the roadway from those huge trees so lavishly decorated with Spanish moss. Looking upward in these “tunnels” gives one a feeling of looking up at the arches in a cathedral. Also, being a girl from the hills, I take a certain joy in seeing even a semblance of banks along the road as often are part of the canopy stretches. Unlike the Meridian Road toward Tallahassee, though, these stretches are so short you can’t dwell on their beauty for long.

One of those canopies arched over the road as we approached the turn into Providence cemetery. We drove in and circled the very neatly kept cemetery and paused to read a few headstones, something we enjoy doing. Then we put our windows down and listened to a mockingbird trilling out a great repertoire of songs and sounds.

We paused on the quiet roads to take pictures as if we were tourists.

I was hoping the sweetgums might be changing color along Wolf Creek Road. I’d noticed the sweetgum at Cairo First Baptist already has a hint of red. But the only color we saw along Wolf Creek was a slight gold tinge of tulip poplar and grapevine leaves. In a couple of weeks we’ll have to venture out again and see if we can see sourwoods and sweetgums turning red.

When we pulled back into our own yard we were struck by the beauty of our own surroundings. Climbing jasmine on our big mailbox pine has yellow blooms, not as many as back in the summer, but so pretty all the same. The red firecracker plant does not display the wonderful abundance of little firecrackers as it did on July 4 but it’s still showing out. The lantana beds are a mass of yellow which butterflies hover over. A stray, very late, azalea blossom peers from amongst leaves like a child not wanting to go to bed yet. Camellias are already covered with buds and the Susquehanna is blooming. Around the rusty cotton planter the spring wildflowers we planted are looking as bright as ever.

And those autumn leaves? Our Japanese maples are tinged with red and the Indonesian cherry tree is dropping persimmon-colored leaves in the driveway. Stray red leaves appear on crepe myrtle and soon the nandina bushes will take on color as well. In a neighbor’s yard across the street from our mailbox a large flowering tree is an absolute brilliant show of pomegranate red.

Aside from flowers and leaves, we have been so interested in birds that come to our feeders and bird baths. The usual titmouse, chickadee, cardinal, mourning dove, bluejay, purple finch, nuthatch, wrens, mockingbirds and catbirds are all delightful. But we’ve also seen bluebirds on the bird bath and a bird we’re not familiar with, so bright and beautiful, maybe a painted bunting, according to our bird guide.

As usual, little green lizards find their way into our porch and don’t know how to get out making cute little green exclamation points on the screen. We now have identified four different turtles who show up repeatedly. Squirrels and birds have been enjoying the berries they dig out of the magnolia pods and even are hunting for stray fresh leaf buds on the otherwise sprangly bare branches of the mulberry tree. And, of course, our cats, Sassy and Cramer, contentedly sprawl on warm patio tiles, drink at the bird baths in preference to their own water dish, and prowl through the shrubs or, in spurts of youthfulness (they’re eleven and twelve now), chase each other. One of them greets us at our kitchen window each morning when we open the shutters.

The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Psalm 24:1

Pines and goldenrods

A couple of October reminders: (1) It’s breast cancer awareness month. Girls, get those mammograms. I’m speaking as one who knows she probably wouldn’t have caught the cancer in time if it hadn’t been for that pesky mammogram. (2) Don’t forget to vote!

Christmas will be here before you know it. Order Christmas Carols in my Heart for readers/journal keepers on your Christmas list. Click on the link below.

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