Oct 3, 2008

The Conkers Are Falling ...The Conkers Are Falling...

... cause thats how I know autumn has arrived. Harvest Home, Fall, Mabon, Equinox... Whatever you choose to call it...

There is a huge old horse chestnut tree that lives in the yard. It is as huge as it has ever been. And I have been living here almost thirty years. Every spring it begins to leaf out with the softest of greens. Tender, pliable leaves unfold and seem to suddenly appear. A haze of green. There follows the "blooming". Large upright stalks of blossoms, white and plentiful. When they fade it looks like a young snow covering the ground. And each place there was a bloom forms a slight fuzzy/prickly nubbin.

As the season proceeds the nubbins grow in size and weight. The moss covered limbs lowering a bit each day. Some time in late summer you forget to notice them, and the tree for that matter. Other than to be grateful for the cool afternoon shade it provides to the house and back porch.

Then comes a fine day when the crickets start sounding different.You know,... they get that rusty louder churp that you remember from around a year ago. And you really notice the darkness getting here earlier than expected. And there is a whisper of a texture change in the air. The breeze makes you want to suck in a good deep breath of cooler air. The squash plants and tomato are starting to wither slightly. Some where in the back of your mind you begin to remember where the quilts are put away. You check your cupboards to see if there might be an old envelope of cocoa stashed somewhere. A shawl of some sort feels comforting drawn across the shoulders in evening. When you pet the cats there is a slight thickening of fur. Fur that just weeks ago was flying loose and free everywhere.

This morning I listened to the rain start. The plonking of a drip in the rain barrel that sits at the back corner of the house. Looking out the bedroom window, the tall grass is bent over with weight. The dry straw is dark with moisture.

And then you hear it. The thunking. The crash. The drying leaves giving way. The K-THUMP of a projectile hitting the earth. The hard smacking sound on the roof. To be repeated probly a thousand times this season.

The chestnuts have ripened on the old tree. Grown as large as a lemon. Hard and green and covered in hundreds of sharp pointy spikes. The seams giving way to expose the shiny new nuts held within. Three maybe four to each pod. The entire thing launching itself off the tree to careen down, making a pleasing racket. And hopefully giving you a moments notice to throw up your arm or duck, or listen and know they aren't headed toward your head. Scaring the cats. Making them scatter or look out with dark eyes at the big tree. More willing to come on into the house with Momma.

Conkers some people call them. Buckeyes if you are from Ohio. They are most lovely gathered and put in a bowl that sits in the sun.

I know autumn is here, my most favoritest time of the year, cause the conkers are falling.