Autumn has been taking me on a treasure hunt. I’m lured by jewel-like colors and fleeting scents to find the moment’s gem. Brief, and timed just for this season, the little gifts invite me to slow down to savor them.
In my yard, heads of rosy sedum have changed from the green of August to the pale pink of early September, and now to rich rose. Tall clusters of them draw me, and the butterflies, out to the flower beds.
Red berries grow now in the wild dogwood trees, and a swarm of thirty or so little chattering birds whoosh into the tree to eat, and then down to the ground. They lift in a tight group, swirl and return. Their gathering reminds me that soon I will hear huge flocks of them filling a group of trees with their babble, and then they'll lift off-- sometimes creating a sky path that covers a quarter of a mile.
Out my front door the holly I have trained into a tree showers me with a floral fragrance from its small white blossoms. The first fall it happened I stopped on the porch and had to follow the scent to the source. I never knew holly could smell like a tropical flower. Now I look forward to its annual arrival.
My neighbors celebrate with lawn decorations. My favorites aren’t the spooks and haints (Appalachian for ghost). I like the scarecrows who are welcoming in their go-to-meetin’ clothes, with straw bales, mums and pumpkins as symbols of the changing season.
In commemoration of love ones passed, the flowers on the headstones change from pastels to oranges and yellows and reds. And while out walking though the cemetery I smell the first wood smoke of the season promising comfort and coziness.