September spins out mild, dreamy days to crown her last week here. Blessed, golden days that fills our hearts with peace and happiness, as we behold the unmatched beauty of our hills, and makes us thankful for God’s handiwork.
The wild asters vie with the heavens for blueness, and spread their cheery clumps of brightness in every nook and corner. The smaller white variety are less showy, but exude a delicate fragrance that floats though the autumn air.
Late gardens are flourishing, as frost has not yet made an appearance.
While visiting son Andy yesterday, we brought home a box of beautiful ripe tomatoes and a mess of late corn—“roasting ears” to some. However, the underbrush is turning from summer’s green to autumn’s gold, and the season is changing again.
“The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” (Keats) comes with the golden days of autumn. I would like to hoard them, as a miser does his gold, slowly counting out each one slowly, and savoring all the fullness from dawn until dusk. These mellow autumn days, with early morning mist and hot sunshine; deep blue skies and glorious sunsets; changing leaves and late fall flowers strike a responsive chord in me that swells my heart.
After summer’s hurried pace, these slow, leisurely days are a blessing to the soul. There is time now to take a walk through the fields and woods and explore nature’s ever-changing scene. It is impossible to return from even a short hike without having your arms laden with flowers. Purple ironweed, blue gentians and yellow goldenrod—weeds to some, but matchless beauty to those who love the hills. They fairly beg to be picked and arranged to grace any table.
As much as we enjoy these early fall days, there is also an urgency in the atmosphere to “hurry—hurry—get ready for winter.” The animal world senses this also as the chipmunks dart to and fro with their harvest of nuts to hide away for cold days. We feel it too as we see the firewood neatly stacked against the shed, waiting the chilly blast of winter. The country housewife gleans the last of the garden—making sauerkraut, pickling corn from the last of the nubbins and gathering apples for apple butter.
I saw a friend pick up a jar of commercially made apple butter in the supermarket and read “homemade” on the label. “Humph,” she grumbled, “I’ll bet this doesn’t have a yellow jacket or a bit of wood ash in it!” A man standing nearby commented, “Yes, and I’ll bet they didn’t use a coin when they stirred it to keep it from sticking, either!” Someone asked me the other day why store brought apple butter didn’t taste like the homemade kind. Maybe it’s the wood ash or yellow jacket that gives it that distinctive flavor!
Apple butter is still made the old-fashioned way in many places here in the hills. Willing hands peel and prepare the apples; then a whole day is devoted to the actual making of it. It’s made outside over a wood fire in a big copper kettle, stirred with a long-handled wooden stirrer, and cooked down with the proper amount of sugar until it reaches the right color and consistency. Flavored with oil of cinnamon and lots of neighborly kindness, it is then ladled into glass jars and sealed. There is nothing to compare with it.
When it is opened on a cold wintery day, it is not just a jar of apple butter. The memories come spilling out—the warm autumn day tinged with the pleasant smell of wood smoke, the companionship of others as they worked together, the talk and laughter of friends—it is all in there. No wonder you can’t buy apple butter like that in the store.
“Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music, too—“(Keats)
Autumn, I hear your music.
While we are content here in the hills—apart from the chaos and clamor of the world, and relatively peaceful in our pastoral existence, outside the world is raging. There are wars and rumors of wars (Matt 24:6) “For ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” There are earthquakes and hurricanes, wild fires and pestilences, and famines.
Have you ever witnessed such disrespect and turning away from God and His Word? There seems to be a campaign to eradicate God and any mention of the Bible from everything and every level. There is such wickedness on every hand. We feel the way that Lot did when he lived in the city of Sodom. II Peter 2-8. “For that righteous man (Lot) dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.”
Genesis 6-5, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” How much different is it today? St. Matthew 24-37 says, “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Verse 38, “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark.” Verse 39, “And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of man be.”
Do you think God is trying to tell us something?
We have a grave warning in St. Luke 21:34-36, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come upon all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”
“Watch ye therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”