Hello October!

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My granddaughter last fall as we explored along Natchez Trace Parkway

Today is October 1, 2016 and I actually woke up a little excited about that.   Anyone who has read my past blogs or who knows me very well will recall that we have entered my favorite month.  The only thing casting a shadow on this otherwise lovely day is the horrible storm churning about in the Caribbean Sea, its sight seemingly set on Jamaica.  I pray earnestly for those in the path of this hurricane.

Somewhat selfishly, I am also vexed with the thought that the storm will interfere with my carefully laid plans to spend next weekend in North Carolina with my daughter and granddaughter.  I have been looking forward to spending a few days alone with them, taking in some Blue Ridge sights as we enjoy some of the changes of the season together.

I long to don a sweater, have my nose tickled by a blustery breeze and watch my granddaughter gracefully navigate a pumpkin patch somewhere along the way.  I am dreaming of slurping warm seasonal soups and sharing a slice of apple pie with my daughter as we catch up.  I envision us dancing along trails as we forage for adventure.

I know the trees will have already begun their dress in more vibrant hues of gold and scarlet.  They remind me of debutantes aspiring to be the belle of the ball as they slip into their fanciful attire.

The ground may not be carpeted with the crunchy relics of summer yet, but in a few short weeks, the riot of color will cover the mountains.   If I could stay for the entire month of October, I would.  Better yet, I would stay until the last leaf floated down from the place of its origin and the skeletal trees shivered in the bitter winter wind, heralding winter.

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My granddaughter last fall as we explored along Natchez Trace Parkway

Daily Post: Graceful

Come, Elegant Autumn

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I’ve said before that God created seasons because He knew we were fickle creatures who would get bored easily.  My favorite one is Autumn so when I saw that the Daily Prompt was Elegant, I thought about the distinct beauty and grace of the season and wrote down a few of my very passionate feelings about the coming of Fall.

Come, elegant autumn and show off your style.  I have been eager for your dignified arrival for months now.

Envelop me like a comfortable sweater and display for me the beautiful foggy nights by your harvest moon.

Tantalize me with the classic aroma of pumpkin and spice and not just on Thanksgiving Day.

Surprise me with briskly changing foliage before the colorful leaves are poised to plunge gracefully to the cool earthy ground at the first windy day.

Bring on your slight chill so we can forage in our closets for the stylish leggings, cozy boots and colorful scarves.

Let my eyes feast on the beautiful cornucopias, pine cones and amber colored candles smelling like apple cinnamon. 

And be content to stay for a good long visit, you wondrous golden visitor.

Related stories:  Come Autumn and especially October  and Goodbye July

Nana’s travel buddy

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Ayda enjoying the fall leaves

Recently, my daughter, who lives in New Orleans, bought a round trip ticket for me, so that I could come and babysit for a long weekend.  My first thought was, YES!!!  Any time I can see my kids or my granddaughter, I am thrilled.

A little later though, I wondered how I was going to fit in my annual fall pilgrimage northward from FL to find some fall weather and leaves.  I couldn’t do both…or could I?  After some internet research I discovered that Natchez Trace Parkway was a mere three hours from their home.  My road trip plans began to formulate and in no time at all, I had reservations near Natchez, MS, where we would get on the parkway.  I arrived in New Orleans on a Wednesday and we left on Friday after school (that was a mom requirement).

We stayed in a hotel on the Mississippi River and the next morning we had breakfast, spilled milk and then walked/ran/hopped/skipped the boardwalk and took lots of photos.  We crossed the river and made our way through Natchez and on to the parkway.

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The day was a little cloudy to begin with but ended up being sunny and beautiful.  We took in many of the sites along the parkway, her favorite being Mount Locust .  One of the bedrooms on display there showed some toys like corn husk dolls and she thought it was sad that perhaps that was all they had to play with.  I explained all the fun children used to have playing outside until dark.  She was a little skeptical.

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Ayda in the front yard at Mount Locust

For a five year old, she sincerely enjoyed learning some of the history.  She was certainly a trooper and lasted a lot longer than I expected.  We got off the parkway for lunch and I enjoyed Mr “D”s ‘Heavenly Fried Chicken’ at the Old Country Store Restaurant in Lorman, MS.  Ayda enjoyed the biscuits.

That evening we found a hotel and she wanted to order room service, so of course I told her that’s exactly what we would do.  We were both tired from all of the walking and sight-seeing.  We were waiting at the elevators; me with 100 lbs of luggage and her with her new doll, when she said, “Nana, there is only an up button for the elevator because we are on the very first floor and we don’t need to go underground.”  I snapped the picture below right before she said that; it shows the thoughtful expression before her announcement.

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Waiting for the elevator

The next morning, I had planned to just take the quickest route home, even though deep in my heart, I wanted to get back on the parkway and go back the way we came.  It was rainy though, and surely she wouldn’t want to do that again.  While we were at breakfast, we discussed it and she said, “Oh Nana, please can we go back the way we came?”.  I said, “Honey, it’s rainy today and we may not be able to get out and explore as much”.  She insisted that she did not care.

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It was rainy, but we enjoyed ourselves anyway.  We couldn’t get out much but the beauty around us was enough.  She sang most of the way and I taught her to spell Mississippi, the way I was first taught.  MI crooked letter, crooked letter, I, crooked letter, crooked letter, I, humpback, humpback I.  She got a kick out of making a video to send to her parents.

We stopped for lunch in Natchez and while enroute to the restaurant the GPS took us along the Mississippi River.  She said, “Is that the Mississippi River?” and I said, yes, honey it is.  She declared, “Well, then our hotel is right on the other side”.  Yes, it was.  As a matter of fact, we could see it after we drove a little further.  I know that I am a typical Nana, but this kid never ceases to amaze me.

The rain picked up and we had to run through it because I parked a little too far away from the restaurant.  We got wet and giggled at how silly our hair looked.

We were almost back to New Orleans and she was telling me that if I was looking for a road sign to tell me how far we had to go, to always look on the right.  I wondered how a five year old would realize that, and asked her what I would do without her on these crazy road trips.  She said, “Nana, I guess if Papa wouldn’t go, you’d just be alone.  It’s a good thing you have me.”   Yes, it is, baby girl, yes it is.

Come Autumn and especially October

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Great Smoky Mountains

Those who know me well know that fall is my favorite time of the year.  I prematurely long for October beginning in June or July.  In this, my 50th fall season, I endeavored to determine why.  After all, every season holds the promise of something new.  It’s as if God knew our fickle natures would tire and need a change.

As I pondered my preference for all things autumn, I mentally made a list of all of the possibilities for why this season holds such charm.

For one thing, this month is the month of my birth.  Granted, that isn’t nearly as exciting as in years gone by but perhaps in my formative years, it was one reason I developed a strong preference for the beginning of autumn and for the month of October.

It also holds the promise of the rapidly approaching holiday season and cooler temperatures.  Although I am a Florida native, I’ve always favored the chillier weather, and I am grateful that I travel a lot and get to partake of it more often.  The drop in temperature means that even we Florida girls will get to wear boots!

If all of that wasn’t enough to help me understand my love for fall, I was reminded of something else just this morning.

I live in what I would describe as a small fishing village.  One of the livelihoods is stone crabbing and if you are a local, it is very likely that someone in your family is or was in the stone crabbing business or benefits from it in some way.  My dad was a stone crabber and my husband added a crab boat to our business just last year.  You may be wondering what crabbing has to do with my October love.

Well, you see October 15th is the first day the crabbers can begin pulling stone crab traps and bringing in their catch.  Today signifies the start of a more lucrative season for crabbers.

When I was a child, after a long penny pinching summer, it was exciting to wait at the docks and see how many pounds of crabs daddy had caught that day.  Even as a child you felt that fiscal tension ease up quite a bit within a couple of weeks after crab season started (as long as it was a good season).  The question of how many pounds was often a precursor to what kind of Christmas you were going to have.

So this morning, around 4:00am, when I began to hear the sounds of those diesel engines as the crab boats headed out, I smiled and reminisced for a while and then said a prayer for a bountiful harvest and safety for all.

Now, if I could just get the days to slow down, so I can thoroughly enjoy every moment of my October.

Work instead of whine

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puffy clouds

 

The wind is strong and fierce today, whipping noisily through the trees

It blows through my open window; sends papers sailing on a breeze

Birds are singing heartily as they hunt and perch and play

And I’m stuck at my computer as I work the day away

What is it about this windy day that beckons me, “Come Out!”

Autumn always grips me; I want to frolic all about

Soon enough, my workday will end and my time will be all mine

But for now, I must be content to work instead of whine

A somewhat silly poem by me (and I waited until after work to write it)

Hydrangeas

Falling into a new season

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“You’re gonna miss this, mom”, she says after I halfway scold her for one of her annoying habits of doing something to about 95% completion.   And I know that she is right.  That all too familiar constriction begins in my throat and I silently pray that I won’t be forced to speak any time soon.  My eyes are damp too, but she won’t notice that from the next room.  It’s not that I’m afraid to show my emotions; we’ve been a tangled mess of emotions over the past few weeks.

I’ve thought about it and written about, but now the time is here.  Our youngest will leap headlong from the nest this coming Saturday and when she gets up and brushes herself off, she will have a new last name and a new protector.

If time permits and the words flow, I will share it all in the coming days, the ups and downs, the panic and the quiet and all the other pre-wedding drama.

I’ve always said that fall is my favorite season and it is, but I find myself wondering if now it will also represent the time of year that I fell into the “empty nest”.

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