Appalachian Thursday–Final Flowers

It’s October–my favorite month. I realize the first day of fall was back in September, but October is when I KNOW the seasons are changing in these Appalachian mountains. Leaves are just starting to color, the mornings require a jacket, and the sky is getting ever bluer. It’s the bittersweet time of year when the weather is wonderful (barring hurricanes), nature is at her loveliest, and I know it will all soon turn to bare branches and ice. But before we have the glory of the foliage, there are the last of the flowers to savor. Goldenrod, asters in blue and white, thistles, jewel weed, and all the lovely ditch flowers whose names I don’t know. Here’s a sampling from my hikes. You’ll find thistles of the flora and fauna variety mixed in there. Enjoy!

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Appalachian Thursday–Signs of Autumn

By some miracle, the nights have turned off cool enough to sleep with the windows open. Even though it’s still AUGUST. This pleases me deeply. And it gets me to thinking about how fall is right around the corner. As I get out and take Thistle for walks, or write with the windows open, I’m definitely seeing signs that autumn is stirring, sifting through her closet, and debating which of her russet skirts to wear this year. So I thought I’d take a moment to list the blessings of autumn in Appalachia: Cool, crisp air that makes you want to breathe deep and turn your eyes to the sky. That brilliant, blue sky! Gorgeously colored leaves standing in sharp contrast to an infinite expanse of blue. Those leaves that land on the sidewalk and leave rusty outlines behind. Building a fire–in the fireplace inside or the firepit outside. Scuffling through crunchy, crackly leaves. Apples! Apple pies, applesauce, apple chutney, apple cake . . . not to mention pumpkin everything! Goldenrod, joe pye weed, ironweed, maiden’s bower, and asters growing along dirt roads. Milkweed pods! Finally being able to wear sweaters again. Trading the lawn mower for the rake. I could go on. What’s your favorite thing about fall?

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