Autumn Changes

I’ve never liked fall. It’s the season that comes before winter, and I really don’t like winter (too cold and dreary). In fall the trees lose all their leaves and, while the colors may be temporarily pretty, they start to look like mere skeletons of their spring and summer glory. I love summer: hot, sunny days spent at the beach. I’ve never liked the cooling of fall. Until this year. This year I seem to be developing a greater appreciation for fall.

I took Tsubaki for a bike ride a few days ago. The wind was really strong and gusty. At one corner, there was a rice field being harvested. What caught my attention about it was the birds. There were a couple of kites and a few crows. The crows, being more aggressive and a bit smaller, were down in the field, cawing and rowdy as usual. But the kites were so graceful. They were hovering over the field, looking for an easy lunch, I’m guessing. They just struck me as so beautiful trying to hold their position and glide on the wind. They were having a hard time and every few minutes let the wind take them soaring up before looping back into position. We just sat and watched for quite a while.

In front of our house there are three persimmon trees. And right now they actually look more beautiful without their leaves. They have all of this ripe orange fruit just hanging from their leafless branches, quite stunning against the blue sky.

Then there are the fall flowers. Osmanthus: I’ve just discovered there are a couple of varieties of this plant. One is a tree with orange flowers and the other is an evergreen shrub with white flowers. They both smell fantastic. Cosmos: Bright pink flowers growing everywhere around here, almost like weeds. Buckwheat: A whole field of small, delicate white flowers.

And I love the rice fields in the spring when they’re full of water that reflects the sky, and then later as the rice grows, the fields turn into these beautiful waves of light green. I always thought of freshly harvested rice fields as ugly and barren looking, which they are. But suddenly, there’s this great big open area just in front of our house where the kids can run around and have fun. A different type of beauty: laughing shrieking kids running around in the fresh air.

And trading the hot days of summer for the cooler days of autumn does not seem quite so bad to me this year. Then again, I am sitting here on top of my hot carpet, so…


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