Autumn is for Everyone
The autumnal equinox is now two days behind us; and, almost on cue, the heavy air lifted and we could all breathe again here in Northwest Mississippi.
Upon waking the morning of the 22nd, I knew something was amiss. Pumpkin Spice filled the air, my daughter awoke with her first head cold of the year, and in the kitchen, Lily the Setter was trying to balance an egg on one end…
“What’s happening?” I muttered as my wife handed me a cup of hot coffee. Looking around I realized the house looked like Halloween and a Harvest Festival had gone toe-to-toe and the brawl had ended in a draw. Stacye smiled at me and Ava, “Happy Fall, Y’all!” She exclaimed. “The heat and the humidity are gone.”
At that I drained the coffee and began my yearly search for hunting coat, boots and other outdoor accoutrements…
But in all honesty, as a man born to farming, hunting, and fishing in and around the Mississippi Delta, humid heat doesn’t bother me. In fact, I like it. I like being out in it. Like the heaving full breaths of saturated air filling the lungs to a damp capacity, the never-dry shirts, the way the atmosphere itself seems to punch you in the gut as soon as you step outdoors…
Yeah, it isn’t for just anyone. And, that’s one reason I love this time of year: Fall appeals to all in God’s Creation.
It doesn’t matter if you are in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont or the Pacific Northwest; Philipsburg, Montana or Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, when the air turns cool and leaves begin their colorful chrysalis into topsoil, the mood lightens a bit. That old, primal agrarian in all of us knows we are in a time of harvest. A time to gather. A time of joy preceding a time of repose.
Some of us still live close enough to farms to see an actual harvest following the ripening of cotton, corn, soybeans… Others are not too far away from a countryside, WMA, or National/State Park. We can all afford a little time outdoors. Let this serve as your encouragement to get out there and enjoy a few hours among the gathering crops, the turning grass, the falling leaves of autumn: these most ornate artifacts of creation.
…As I hurried past my wife and daughter towards the door I stopped to call Lily. She was standing staunch over an erect egg. I paused, puzzled as she was at this curiosity and what all it might foretell before whistling twice. She darted past me into the cool air. Out across the pasture she ran, happier than I’ve seen her in months.
If you aren’t in shape for hunting season yet, now is the time. Take your spouse, your friend, your child, the canine. You won’t regret a moment spent out among the brightening landscape. If you get a chance to hunt behind a working dog, don’t hesitate. There’s nothing better than a dog standing over birds before a backdrop of turning leaves.
After all, Autumn is for everyone, especially bird dogs.