Fall brings many pleasant surprises

Published 11:56 am Friday, October 29, 2021

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One fall day, properly buckled in with my seat belt and my windows rolled up I enjoyed soft music floating from the car radio with my air conditioner opened on full blast. As I rolled along the highway, to my right, a vine zig-zagged on a fence, this way and that, over and down covering it from top to bottom. Poking out from the greenery were tiny, light purple blossoms sprinkled with dew and glistening from a bath of sunshine. They looked like hundreds of precious gems.

Up the road a few miles, little yellow butterflies congregated on some bushes, then danced among fallen leaves. On the edge of a field, goldenrod waved pointy fingers. Beyond it, soybean plants had changed from green to yellow. They always catch my eye when they turn brown. They remind me of a childhood friend who awoke to face the morning with long, tangled curls.

It is obvious that despite the hot sun, high temperatures and humidity, fall has finally made its appearance.

Some of the pecan trees released their leaves. They floated at will to bunch in corners, play tag across lawns, roll onto streets and roadways and retreat to ditches at the whim of the wind and swept by the current of passing traffic.

I was delighted a few mornings ago when I let my dog Little Girl outside. A pleasant cooling breeze swept toward me with a promise of bright, lovely autumn days ahead. In the fall I love visiting my favorite produce stand. For the past two years, my daughter and her husband have had a productive. garden. They shared squash, peas, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants. I consider a meal prepared from among those delicious ingredients “fit for a king.”

Fall has other surprises as well. A friend’s Confederate rose bush has swelled with buds. One day a close look at it revealed some little black bugs crawling around inside them. I hope they don’t ruin the plant.

This year I have not put out any hummingbird feeders, but a report from a dedicated hummingbird watcher revealed there were plenty of them in action at the feeders last month. Typical behavior of a hummingbird is to stand watch near a feeder and chase away any of the little beauties that venture close by. It is not unusual to see one attack another. For such pretty little things, it looks like they have bad dispositions.

One September when we lived in what I called the Pecan Grove in Lillian, I saw one perched on a limb suddenly shoot from it like a bullet to prevent a take-over.

Things are different here in south Alabama. Where I was raised in central Alabama, I found fall weather depressing. I did not enjoy the trees staying bare so long and, besides pines, there was little greenery. Here we have fewer changes of the seasons, but it is hard to explain how our weather situation has been this year. It has been different from previous fall weather. After all, what can be more pleasant than sunny days punctuated with the crisp coolness of the mornings following this year’s hot, muggy summer?