Fall is making its way to us. The north wind kicks up and the wilting sunflower leaves ripple out like birds sloughing off water from their wings. I’m plain puzzled at how two things can be so perfectly suited for one another — birds and sunflowers, that is.
I miss the finches. They’ve moved on now; there’s not much left here for them to forage. Only real color in the garden right now is bright red and new green tomatoes, and some fading beauty from the zinnias. I think I like their waning colors just as much as their vibrant ones. Reminds me of an old photograph, the way they yellow around the edges.
The cool of autumn carries a nostalgia that revives me every year. This season awakens me and leads me by the nose to my happy place. The birds may duck out, but I show up. By mid October, I usually have my second wind for all the fall festivities (there are plenty) and truly, it’s my favorite time of the entire year.
The week of warm weather we had took its toll on me. I wilt like the garden in humidity. Pretty sure I’ll not endure Arkansas summer the rest of my days. Fair and hot-natured girls like me belong up north. I think my soul is an evergreen. Yet, the swelter of summer is probably what cultivates my endearment for autumn. Oftentimes it takes the bitter to appreciate the sweet.
While in Colorado I enjoyed inspecting the hardy native landscape. I think I paid more notice to the land than the infrastructure. I grinned each time I saw sunflowers bobbing around. It felt like a welcome sign just for me. I saw Columbine all through town, too; it was like running into a friend. I was relieved to find the finches still enjoying the sunflowers there. While we trekked through a pine-laden mountain, my brain was flooded with dopamine. The scent, sight, and textures take me back to my happiest place in childhood — up north Michigan. Aspen and white birch might be one of my love languages.
This morning back here, I plucked several sopping dead sunflower heads and fed them to the hens. They love when the seeds rain down from above; it’s a sun shower for them. There’s rain and thunder and a fire still smoldering from last night. I can’t help but think of how fiercely fire burns and how much rain is required to snuff it out. Such is love: smoldering through all the thwarting elements of life. I’m just thankful this damp morning, for all of these things.