Dogwood Tree

Columnist John Moore prefers the colors of fall, including his dogwood tree near the pond in his pasture.

They call them seasons. I think that’s because each adds a specific type of sensory spice to that quarter of the year.

Summer should actually be called, “Simmer.” Winter should be called, “Chiller.” Spring is appropriately named since nature goes from dormant to an awakening that springs flowers into the air and pollen into our nostrils.

All things considered, fall is my favorite. Fall doesn’t seem to want anything from us. It just asks the waiter for the check and heads back to its room for a long winter’s nap.

Each season requires outdoor maintenance from the property owner — summer mandates mowing, spring pushes the gardener into action, and winter requires wrapping pipes and splitting firewood.

But fall? Maybe a little leaf raking, but not much else. The mowing stops and there really isn’t a lot that you must do in autumn.

The mosquitoes and flies disappear, cooler temps bring comfort, and the leaves I mentioned? Do what I do:

I just let the leaves be. I’m not one of those homeowners who require that every leaf be placed in a plastic bag and then hauled off to the landfill.

That’s not how nature does it. Leaves in the forest decompose and feed what’s growing there. Why not do the same in your own yard?

My wife and I went organic over 20 years ago and have learned a lot about the benefits of not putting chemicals in the soil. And fall is one of the times of year when we see how nature returns to how God meant for it to operate.

My grandson is in his 20s now, but one of the things Ethan and I enjoyed most about his summer visits was playing with the “doodlebugs.”

We used a small twig to lightly follow the circular sandy rim of the doodlebug hole, causing the dirt to slide into the hole at the bottom. We’d patiently wait for the doodlebug to kick the dirt back out of his hole and rebuild his home.

It was a great life lesson for Ethan on how that even the smallest of God’s creatures can overcome unexpected problems.

During Thanksgiving, Ethan would return to see how the doodlebugs were doing. It gave me the opportunity to explain to him how nature worked, and how the doodlebug was kind of like a bear — he was sleeping until spring.

These bugs, along with lizards, frogs and other of nature’s pest control devices are around our place for the grandchildren to witness because we allow nature to be what it’s meant to be — which brings the seasons, which brings beauty.

Each person has a seasonal preference, but to me, fall is by far as close to perfect as a season can be.

Summer (at least in Texas) is too hot. Winter feels nice when you’re young, but is too cold the older you get. And spring is full of allergies.

Which is why fall is perfection.

The trees put on a colorful show as they switch from green-to-purple-to-bare. It’s a daily changing feature that lures me back to the bedroom window each morning at sunrise to see nature’s next free episode.

We have an old dogwood tree that has white blooms around Easter. But I think the leaves turning purple each fall are even more beautiful than the white.

The pear tree in our front yard also offers a deep purple change in the color of the leaves each fall.

Near my shop in the back yard is a sweet gum tree. I had the limbs trimmed this year to allow for a fire pit. Sometimes, a fall fire is all we want, while other times, we want to build a fire and do some Dutch oven cooking.

There’s little I’ve found that’s better than staring across a changing fall landscape while smelling a pot of simmering chili or sizzling steaks.

A circle of family and friends and the sound of their laughter are all that’s needed to complete the perfection of cooler temps, gorgeous tree changes, and the knowledge that regardless of whatever is going on in the world, the seasons belong to God – and they are reliable.

And they’re always my comforting reminder that He keeps his part of the deal. For that, I’m grateful. And when it comes to my part of the deal, I try to treat His world as kindly as I can.

And of the four seasons? I’m glad to take the fall.

John’s books, Write of Passage: A Southerner’s View of Then and Now Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, are available on Amazon and on John’s website at TheCountryWriter.com. His weekly John G. Moore Podcast appears on Spotify and iTunes.

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