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by Tamara Hillman
October 2013

Oh my, I just returned from a six-week tour of this beautiful country, and find fall is in the air. October, (my favorite month) is here, and the heat of another Arizona summer is behind us…

I want to write just a couple lines about the fun and interesting things you can see and do (cheaply) while crossing this great country from Arizona to Michigan (where we picked up my hubbies folks at their summer home, and took them on with us for a ten day trip to visit all the old haunts and many relatives on the East Coast where Steve and his dad were born and raised), clear to Cape Cod. Whatta trip!

Branson Bell in Missouri
The Branson Bell in Branson Missouri.
Enjoy a video of Branson MO.

I strongly advice you stop at the Pueblo ruins in Aztec New Mexico, the Will Roger’s Museum in Claremore Oklahoma, (and his birth home just up the road in Oogola), Branson Missouri where we had a blast goin’ and comin’ on our trek, the Lincoln home and museum in Springfield Illinois, the museum under the silver arches of St. Lois Missouri, the Amish sites (found in Iowa, Indiana, and Pennsylvania) the Whaling Museum in New Bedford Massachusetts (where Steve was born), and of course, Cape Cod. This land of ours is soooooo beautiful, and I only pray we can hold on to her through the trials and tribulations of too many rotten politicians gone awry from the top down.

Anyway, on to our talk about my very favorite month—my memories this time of year always slip back home to that little cow-town where I grew up. It was glorious in fall with all the many gorgeous colors everywhere we looked. Our town was nestled right at the Methow River’s edge, and gold, and orange leaves on trees that bordered that current were something to behold. The entire valley seemed to come alive with color in October though I know the leaves were actually dying. Strange how in death, those leaves were more colorful than all the rest of the year. Just one more of God’s many mysteries.

All the farms and ranches in our area were slowing down for winter by the time fall leaves began to drop, and fields were turning to short, brownish stalks of whatever had been planted and mowed at the end of the summer season.

I remember the apple orchards, which were abundant in our valley, were ripe and ready to pick by October. In my youth, many a twelve-foot ladder I struggled around those trees to pick the dewy apples in early morn’ from those green vines. It was good money in that day, and everyone I knew who was bigger than a grasshopper foraged for any kind of honest work that could put money in your pockets back then. Anyone who was lazy stood out like a sore thumb because they were few, and far between.

I loved the crispness in the air when leaves began to turn, settling back into school, and the slower pace October brought to life on the farm. Our house was warm and cozy, and seemed so inviting when temperatures dropped, and we knew winter snows were soon to cover the land like a sea of Marshmallow cream, (the first snow usually coming right at Halloween each year).

October Leaves in full Color

The smell of burning leaves still brings back sweet memories, and makes me recall all the folks we knew who religiously raked their yards of giant oak leaves each fall, then burned them in old, fifty-gallon oil drums everyone kept out back of their place, (we called them burn barrels). Others burned leaves in great piles on the ground keeping a garden hose near by in case the flames started to wonder.

Yes, fall is here, and the bustle of the holidays will soon be upon us, but ‘til then, let’s lean back and enjoy the slower pace and beautiful colors of this lovely month of October.

Below is a new poem I just scratched down for y’all…

 

 

October Leaves by Granny Tam

Leaves tumble and swirl
as they ride on the breeze—
in beautiful colors
falling down from the trees.

To the ground in a flurry,
they rustle and pile,
and we all take heed—
winter comes in awhile.

With Rake In Hand

They float in the waters
of river and stream—
light and languid,
soft as a dream.

Browns, and gold,
orange, and quite red—
we rake them in piles
from lawn and flower bed.

I see them on mountains
surrounding our town—
in beautiful colors,
they float all around.

Mounding Heap Growing Tall

We burn what we gather,
and the smell is unique—
each year I look forward
to their odor so sweet.

I yearn for my valley
where fall leaves now blow
for I see them in memories
of the place I love so.

Tamara Hillman
©2012



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