Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Autumn in Mississippi

Autumn in Mississippi (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"I saw old Autumn in the misty morn Stand shadowless like Silence, listening To silence." ~ Thomas Hood (1798-1845) from "Ode; Autumn"
A backroad in Mississippi, not an unusual sight for Mississippi is a state full of backroads like this. Autumn rain, a light but persistent drizzle coming down. The rainy season in Mississippi runs from October to July some years, it did the first year I lived there and it did on this my last look around the area that was our home for fifteen years.

This little road ran out near the Golden Triangle Regional Airport. It's not what you would call a major airport, in fact only ASA and Northwest Airlink fly in there now. It is out in the boonies, but then a lot of good things in Mississippi are.

Autumn doesn't arrive in Mississippi with all the flashy colors of red, gold and yellow like those that cover the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. There are so many pines, it stays quite green in fact, but the pine needles fall and the pine cones; the scourge of the homeowner. You can rake them, bag them and turn around to find more covering the ground. I wondered sometimes if the squirrels didn't sit up in the trees and throw them down at us. I usually let them accumulate until the first of December and then raked them up to find I had the only green lawn left in the neighborhood; at least for a day or two. A few leaves would turn yellow as you see here. The oaks turned brown and the majority of leaves fell from the tree only with the onset of new growth in the spring. The one tree that provided blazing reds and orange leaves and dark purple berries in the fall is the Black Gum Tree (Nyssa sylvatica) We had one in our yard and it was always the first to turn, the leaves the first to fall and the most beautiful.

Late fall was the only time you could really open the windows of the house and use the attic fan to draw in the cool air. Then at night I could hear the wind in the tops of the tall pines and the call of the owls. They were there high in the trees calling out to each other all night. I never saw them, not once in fifteen years but the little "Hoot-Hoot-Hoot-Hoooooooooot" was somehow comforting.

I can't say I ever enjoyed summer in Mississippi, the heat and humidity were more than one could take at times. Winter was difficult to figure out; you couldn't tell when it began or ended; you could count on there being more 70 degree days than 5 below zero days. But autumn, not the official beginning date of autumn, but the days in late October and November when the temperatures cooled down in the 50's at night; those were the best.

I do miss those nights; the whispering pines and the jolly hidden little hoot owls. I do miss Autumn in Mississippi.

Submission for Lens Day topic "Autumn". (end of post)

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