I am not an original South Floridian, I grew up in Memphis and when I was growing up we experienced true seasonal weather. Even though I was born in the Spring, my favorite time of year, I do love the Fall. As a girl Fall was back to school, Halloween and Thanksgiving all rolled into one. Fall also meant it was sweater weather and time to start wearing knee socks and tights, wool skirts corduroy pants, hush puppies and boots. In the neighborhood and around the city there were so many trees displaying colors of orange red, tan, rust and faded greens. Houses would have piles of swept up leaves in the yards that at any moment could be blown about with a gust of an Autumn breeze. There was a fragrance in the air that was different than other seasons. Perhaps it was the dried leaves in the trees and on the ground that were everywhere and the smell of wood burning fireplaces and the occasional barrel of burning leaves somewhere in the neighborhood. The evening would come sooner than we were ready for and we had to get into the house before it got dark. The nights seemed so long and the morning was greeted lazily and sometimes stubbornly since the nights were becoming cooler, so being all snug under the covers in your bed was the preferred place to be until it was warmer in the house. Once out of the bed the day was under way and off we went to school. In art class we got to draw jack ’o’ lanterns, black cats and bats for Halloween then in November it was all about Thanksgiving cornucopia’s, pumpkins, turkey’s and the colors of fall leaves.
I do have one specific childhood memory of a Thanksgiving day. I cannot tell you why this specific memory has stuck with me, but for some reason when I woke that day, it just felt special to me. It was a beautiful, crisp, sunny day. I can see myself now as I was back then perhaps around 13 yrs old. I got dressed in a white shirt, grey wool flannel skirt, tights and a red pullover sweater and my hush puppies. I had no where to go, but we did like to dress nicely on holidays even when we were staying home. This is the moment that I remember, I walked outside, it was cool and breezy, but the sun was bright and warm. I stood in the driveway, leaned with my back up against my father’s car and looked up into the sun, all around me everything seemed so bright and vivid and it was as if I could see myself in the sun looking down at me smiling. It was a moment in time that has stayed with me and every now and again, I reflect on that moment because it has an air of perfection to it. The other perfect Fall memory that I have is from the night that my son was born. It was Halloween night.
I have had many Autumn’s since that time and I certainly look to having many more. The Fall represents different things to many people and sometimes living here in south Florida where there are no vivid seasonal changes in colors and temperature, it takes a moment for me to conjure up those same feelings of my childhood, but honestly there is not a great deal of inducement that is called for. I love Fall!
Here is my Harvest Prayer:
Summer is gone and Autumn has fallen and so we harvest the gifts from the earth.
We gratefully receive. We gratefully receive. We gather to share the harvest and bounty, prepared with love and blessings from our hearts.
With love in our hearts, with compassion and caring, we gratefully receive. We gratefully receive.