Natural Scenery

The frost is on the ‘punkin’ ..

By the time you read this missive, we will have changed our clocks back to winter’s time.

Dialing them back is, I guess, mankind’s latest attempt to make Mother Nature conform to our wishes. Like we could make Mother Nature do anything? Stop the ocean’s tides maybe?

But, unlike a lot of our efforts to harness the seasons, I guess it makes us feel good. Does turning the clocks back do anything for Mother Nature? Does it make her trees grow taller, the days warmer or the birds stay around a few more days before they fly away?

The answer is no. The purpose is to change us. It makes us get up earlier or later, depending upon the season.

No, I am not going to dive into the reasons why we change our clocks spring and fall. I am not going to explore planet science or the theory behind the rotation of the Earth, how the planet travels around the sun, or why gravity keeps us sticking to the ground. I am also not going to try to explain why Chris Sale, the great Red Sox pitcher, makes a curveball curve, the slider slide, or how he mixes them up to fool a slugger.

These, like a lot of other topics, are all questions for the ages. Someone else with a big brain or big ego can pontificate upon them with, or without, the benefit of adult beverages, to others who may, or not, be so inclined. Not me.

Most of us are too busy with our daily lives to try to figure it out. Many of us just try to follow the ideas set out in the good book and the teachings of its acolytes, while our neighbors follow political leaders and cling to their every word.

I know some folks (damn fools all) who even believe the words of scribes and pundits claiming to understand it all. Sure they do. But, when you get right down to it, we are all just trying to cope, to play the hand we have been dealt, as best we can. Day after day, no matter what the clock says, we wake up and begin our daily routine slogging through the chores we do for ourselves and others.

And, as night falls, no matter what time the newly set clocks say, the sun goes down and we retire for a few hours. Then a few winks later, we get up again and do it all over.

But the world is not always filled with the same mundane routine. No matter what time we set on our clocks, we don’t change Mother Nature. This time of the year, she changes the scenery for us. Is she trying to, maybe, just maybe, give us a little boost?

After enduring a summer of disease, fires and storms, political and otherwise, we could use a kick in the pants as we try to remember where we stashed the snow shovels, the long johns, and the warm sweater the kids sent one year for Christmas.

And it works. Take it from one of my East Boothbay walking buddies who remarked: “The other morning, I drove to Damariscotta for a meeting and took the River Road. The sun sparkled off the leaves. It was just a spectacular sight.”

He was right. Great artists, like photo pro Bob Mitchell, can capture these images and help us remember the scene as we cuddle up to the wood stove on a chilly January night. And scribblers, like me, use words to evoke these images. However, like storied baseball sluggers, we strike out most of the time.

But once in a while, a poet captures the mood and spirit of the changing season.Here is a snippet, written a hundred or so years ago, by Indiana poet James Whitcomb Riley:

“There is something kind of hearty like about the atmosphere,

When the heat of summer’s over and the cooling fall is here …

But the air’s so appetizing and the landscape through the haze,

Of a crisp and sunny morning of the early autumn days,

Is a picture that no painter has the coloring to mock,

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.”

Happy fall to all. Many believe it is the best season of all, and they will get no argument from me.

Now, let me get back to my chores. Let’s see, I took down the screens, gathered the furniture off the back deck, and made sure the snowblower would still start. But no matter what time the clocks say, I am sure I missed something. And I am sure someone will remind me of the chores I forgot to do. At least, I hope so.


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