Oh, it’s a long, long time from May to December

But the days grow short when you reach September,

When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame, —.

The yearly seasons emulate life, and I have passed spring, my introduction to this wonderful life, and childhood; then summer with its marriage, children, work, joys and worries; and now autumn, a chance to slow down, to review my past, with memories of its pleasures, and no regrets for my mistakes. Winter will come, but there’s no hurry.


Old father time checked

So there’d be no doubt.

Called to the North Wind

To come on out —.

I know, native Californians don’t know autumn like you immigrants. We don’t see whole hillsides covered with red and gold, which ooh and ah you. But we’ll take what we have, and enjoy the occasional garden tree that livens the neighborhood and causes us to slow down, stop, and feast on it.  It’s autumn.


Leaves are falling down, ‘round my head.

Some of them are brown, some are red.

This means “get out the rake”, however, now my power mower does a good job of picking them up.  I used to have a magnificent huge apple tree, with a leaf fall so great that the mower couldn’t do it. That, of course, did mean “get out the rake”.  There was a time when we burned the leaves, or hauled them to the dump,  but now I put as many as I can in my compost pile  Soon we’ll have rain, and the sprinklers will be turned off, and the grass will rest, and the garden will turn brown.  I’ll look at it and think about improving it. Mostly I will look at it and think about it.


The slanted sun is still warm against the skin, and hard on the eyes. Because the sun’s rays must pass through more atmosphere, the vitamin D gets filtered out, so eat fortified food,  but still cover your head when outside.  The house warms up during the day, but the nights are getting cold, and now we stoke the furnace for a while in the morning after a chilly night.


The falling leaves drift pass my window;

The autumn leaves of red and gold.

Autumn means Pumpkins and Halloween, with the children at the door selectively picking out the goodies for their bags, but better yet – football, my favorite armchair sport.  But we will actually attend at least one game; at Stanford.  It’s Saturday afternoon, and we park in the massive field near the stadium.  Student guides direct us to a parking spot, and we walk through the dusty field towards the stadium, carrying a blanket (for it might get cool), binoculars, and water.  We pass by the tailgaters, drinking, and eating their fancy dinners, and wearing colorful clothes displaying their college colors. Children tossing footballs around, practicing for their future.  It’s a happy crowd.


The game? Of course we won.  Back over the dusty lot, weaving through the trees, we search for the car, join the slow trail of departing cars and head home.  It’s dark now, and the house is cold.  I bring in firewood and before long there is a crackling fire, warming and illuminating the room.  We bring chairs close to the fireplace and we sit, gazing at the mesmerizing flames while we sip cocktails.  Dinner can wait.  This is autumn.



George W. Parker

October, 2011






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