Monday, October 25, 2004

Autumn reminder

I have been so caught up in dealing with the past and finances over the past few weeks, not to mention my parents' visit, that I completely forgot it was autumn. I got a huge reminder yesterday.

I went to the store to pick up some vegetables, envelopes, and pens (since mine are all used up--I go thru so many of them). As I pushed the crotchety cart down the soup aisle I noticed packages of split green and yellow peas, which put me in the mind of split pea soup with ham. I picked up a package of each and made my way to the meat counter to look at ham. The prices were pretty outrageous for something that is sold by the weight, especially when most of the weight is water, but I found a nice butt end with the bone still intact that wasn't too big or too small and within my budget--sort of. Picked up the rest of my things and received a coupon for a free grande anything from the Starbucks in the store. I chose a pumpkin spice latte, decaffeinated, of course, loaded the groceries in the car, parked the crotchety cart in the corral, and headed for home.

All the way down to Fraser the sky was an iron gray that spat snow and ice pellets. By the time I was back to Tabernash lacy flakes and clumps of snow were drifting down thru the leaden skies while smoky trails wound up from chimneys here and there along the road. Safe in the back seat two butternut squash whispered to me of creamy butternut squash soup laced with maple syrup and a caramel apple reminded me of the treat in store for me when I finished putting everything away. Bright red pomegranates rolled thru my memory, another sure sign of autumn.

As I rounded the curve on the lower part of the winding dirt road that leads to my cabin a doe bounded across my path and stopped on the down slope. I stopped the car and we looked at each other for several minutes, her with curiosity at my strange behavior and me with wonder that I live where beautiful creatures like her wander wherever they will. Smiling, I drove on. I pulled into the road that leads to my cabin and stopped again as a magnificent stag leapt in front of me and into the woods on the other side of the road. He stopped and turned just as I stopped the car. His antlers told the tale of a king among stags, proud and arrogant in his powerful grace, deigning to notice me. He reminded me of the woodcuts in Felix Salten's story of Bambi, Bambi's father standing on the hill waiting for his son to catch up with him.

Just then a yearling buck hop-skipped across the road and stopped, looking up at the stag as if waiting for permission to move. In the gathering dusk, it looked as though he had four points on his tiny rack. Suddenly the stag move regally toward the brow of the hill and down. The little buck hesitated, looking over at me, and then hop-skipped after the stag to disappear into the deeper shadows of the pine trees.

Moments later I pulled into the drive and unloaded the car, locked the door, and dragged my bags upstairs. As I put away the groceries, setting my caramel apple aside and taking a sip of the pumpkin spiced latte, the weight of the past few days lifted. I walked over to the doors that look onto the deck and dreamily watched snowflakes fluttering to the ground, pilling in soft drifts on the deck and across the slopes and rills of my yard, catching in the still green pine needles and sifting thru the branches in a fall of glitter.

Out on the deck as snowflakes settled on my eyelashes and hair, I breathed deeply of wood smoke and the spicy scent of one of my favorite seasons of the year--autumn. I almost forgot and let the season slip away from me in all the worries and day-to-day dealings that I let weigh me down. The bucks and the doe were a reminder to stop and inhale the scent of freedom and joy that comes bounding out of the shadows across my path. I'm glad I paid attention.

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