I've followed C.W. Gusewelle's writings in the Kansas City Star for years, and have often corresponded with him. I can really relate to what he has to say in today's column.
Autumn's arrival signals a season of richness, not regret
The bird dogs spend their night — or part of it — in the chairs we bought for ourselves to sit in. But sometime between 3 a.m. and half past 4 they are fully rested.
At that hollow hour, awakened by the urgent racket of their toenails clicking on the floor, I roll groaning from bed and follow them downstairs to let them out into the fenced back yard.
There is no memory afterward of sleep being interrupted.
Immediately, then, as if no time had passed, the clock radio begins to sing its dismal little song.
The dogs, listening below the open bedroom window, hear the radio, and Pete, the vocal one, sets up an insistent yipping to notify me of their desire for breakfast.
But outside all is black. It still is night. The radio has come on by mistake. I look at the digital numbers on its face.
There's no mistake. The clock says 6:20 a.m., the usual time for the beginning of our day.
What has happened is that, in the sweet march of an uncommonly pleasant summer, we'd simply forgotten what it is like to rise in darkness. Then, in a strange and sudden way, one notices that the planet has tilted a fraction on its axis, and our world has changed.
I love the autumn, and always have.
The sharpness of the mornings, the suddenness with which the golden afternoons soften into evening, the greater length of shadows, the wild asters in bloom on the roadside, the flame of sumac against a green hillside, the drift of leaves outside the window — those are the signatures of the season I live for.
Some people may see it as a time of things ending, a season of regret. But I feel only the satisfaction of things complete and others about to begin.
My country friends are busy bringing in their harvest, counting up the yield of their year's labor.
When the first hard frost has burned the lush foliage brown, the dogs and I will be in the field. The orange and brown and white flash of them against a far woodline, as I trudge behind, will bring fresh again the memories of other years, other pups, other friends.
Then we'll be into the holiday time, with families regathered and the table full and diets briefly put out of mind.
All that is the richness that autumn brings. And I'm at a loss to understand how anyone could find it melancholy.
Would I like to be young again? Who would not?
Would I like to be new at writing again, to feel that wonderful fear and excitement of the beginner? Absolutely.
Would I like the chance to spend some days again with the people in my life I've lost? Of course I would.
But past is past. And now, in this turn of the year when I wake to find the morning has arrived in darkness, instead of looking backward, I imagine only what's sure to be ahead.