Despite a thermometer that refuses to let go of summer and smoke making a stubborn stand, I foresee fall in our future (and they say alliteration is dead).
The valley shows definite hints of autumn, which for me, begins September 1. None of this waiting around until the 23rd equinox business. Here’s how I know: for starters, 13 gobblers (a roaster’s dozen) scratched and pecked their way through my yard the other day, each of them posing briefly like a Thanksgiving card cover. I’m not sure where they run off to the rest of the year, maybe Seven Feathers, but when roving packs of turkeys begin making their fall pilgrimage, there’s no ignoring the significance. A former article I penned as a public service announcement about these stalkers, entitled “Wattle and Snood in Your Neighborhood,” will be included in a soon-to-be-published Southern Oregon Journal compilation book. More info soon.
Another sure sign of fall is me buying something red, like that long-sleeved, thick (as in requiring something toasty on a crisp day) shirt I found that will pair stunningly with fall, classic-gray slacks. Boot shopping, anyone?
There are other signals, perhaps not as merry as the aforementioned. Today when my lawn maintenance buddies showed up, I’m sure I saw them looking forlornly into the thick canopy overhead and thinking how much ash is going to be revived with all those leaves once they meet with multiple blowers. Nothing can stop their descent. One or two let go prematurely in front of them as a cruel tease. That’s when I bake cookies and things as solace.
With the third season comes fall cleanup since I generally skip right over spring cleaning as a tradition and put deep cleaning off until October. I actually hate those words. Any time a friend says she’s (never does a he say them) doing deep cleaning, I instantly wonder what I ever saw in her for kinship. Nevertheless, I did buy a new vacuum cleaner, since old reliable finally sucked its last. The new sucker is red, too. As red as a crisp, gala apple or a crimson maple leaf during the second week of October, or like the blush on my face when I’m forced to admit publicly that I write these. I haven’t engaged the new Fuller machine yet, but I put it together and showed it to the cat. It came in a box within a box big enough for a decent playhouse. Now if I only had a child handy for an excuse.
Birds flying south are another inspiring sign. Though Canada geese live in the valley year round, they sometimes perform reenactments for old times’ sake, or what I call fake-out migrations where they make with the V and honk for all they’re worth to celebrate the end of a dry, hot, smoky summer and the launch of a cool, clear, life-saving autumn.
September brings a premonition of scary corn mazes and pumpkin heads just around the barn. September carries in another Favell Museum Art Show & Sale in Klamath Falls, with the opening weekend happening this coming Friday through Sunday. This event is a fundraiser to continue preserving an impressive collection of Native American artifacts and western art and to host traveling exhibitions. The drive over and various activities throughout the weekend serve to spark (sorry for the word choice) our autumn imagination. Would that fall could predominate the year.
Last but least are the piles of neatly cut and stacked summer squashes ready to become crackling logs on the fire. Happy anticipation, all. We’re nearly there.
Reach freelance writer, Peggy Dover, at firstname.lastname@example.org and on her Facebook page.