Wednesday, October 15, 2014

To light the fire..

The hills have gone the colors of fire. (c) RLMT

This autumn, this fine autumn, comes treading heavily, awash with rains and morning mist, and it has turned our beloved hills to the colors of fire. Each day that passes brings winter closer, and the scent of woodsmoke in the air rivals the odor of apples and cinnamon, the defiant orange of pumpkins, and a coat of many colors laid chill upon a land. A dragon's hoard of jewels could be no more beautiful than the forests I've called home since childhood.

A roadside shop, selling all manner of country-produced goods. (c) RLMT

 It is my favorite time of year. Harvest moon, howling thunderstorms, children playing among heaps of leaves, and granny-women stewing up pots of steaming, delicious soup, hot, fresh cornbread, and sweet wonders concocted of pumpkin or apple, and spiced just so. These are the memories of Appalachia, of the Kentucky hills.

An assortment of autumn produce: pumpkins, squash, gourds, and so on. (c) RLMT

Corn fodder shocks still stand for real use in some parts of the country,  stuffed with field-grown cushaws, pumpkins, and other squash, as well as gourds.

The once-busy front porch of an abandoned Mom and Pop type store. (c) RLMT

“That country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain.”
Ray Bradbury

In the center of this woodland road scene is the the shadowy outline of a female Great Horned Owl. (c) RLMT/RLT

The forests are awash with mist, silent wings at work among the trees in the low light telling of survival stories still to come, for the Great Horned Owl is our neighbor.  Hard times come and go, and the land stays. Days follow days, nights hallowed nights, and the between times are earthy magic, life and death, blood and feathers on the ground.

This is my home. My homeland. Beleaguered by greed and thoughtless action, it is still my home, and I will defend it as best I can while I may, for I am a part of it. And when I am gone, it will do well to defend itself against all comers, with my blessing.

A small bird will drop frozen dead
From a bough
Without ever having felt sorry for itself.
- D.H. LAWRENCE, Self-Pity