The distinct “thump” was loud enough to interrupt the conversation Stacey and I were having as we took in a brilliant sunset from her patio. I knew the instant I heard it what it was, but I still had to investigate. Slowly walking in the direction to where I thought the sound came from, I zoned in and found it. I stood there for just a moment staring at the fallen object before reaching down to pick it up. The “burnt” orange specimen lying there was the first one I have seen since late last summer. Have you guessed what it was? If not, I’ll help.
The ripe persimmon that I held in my hand meant more to me than just a fallen piece of fruit from a tree. No, the significance means much more to me. In fact, it caused me to pause and think about what is to come in the not-so-distant future. It indicates that the days are growing shorter and scorching temperatures will soon be subsiding. It indicates the seasonal change that we are blessed with each year. It indicates an end and a new beginning. Wait, there is more!
Have you noticed the other hints of change coming? As you sip your morning coffee, does the sunrise seem to take longer to filter through the canopy of trees to illuminate your lawns and gardens? Be assured, it is not a figment of the imagination that dawn is ever so slow to “crack” each morning. A month ago, it was light enough to find those insect pests in cotton and soybeans long before six o’clock. It’s at least 6:30 now. The same holds true for the afternoons as darkness consumes the landscape a few minutes earlier each day. So, what else is occurring that you may or may not have noticed?
If you are traveling north of Flora along Highway 49, take a glance at one of the many sycamores along the roadside just before you cross the Big Black River. Though the difference each day is quite subtle, it’s still there. Have you noticed it? The leaves that were rich in chlorophyll just a few weeks ago are beginning to give up the ghost. The yellow pigments are beginning to express themselves, as photosynthesis begins to wane with reduced sunlight. Not to worry if you don’t travel this corridor, for any other river and creek bottom will hold these species and you will surely notice the changing hue. Again, another sign that change is on the way.
Tomato production has been phenomenal this year. I can’t recall a growing season that has produced as much fruit as this one has. Not only has the quantity been unprecedented, the quality has been just as good. The flavor from the Better Boys, Arkansas Travelers, and the Ozark Pinks have made for some of the best BLT’s I’ve ever had. However, as Jim Stafford relates in one of his more popular songs, “all good things must come to an end” and so slows the production and quality of the tomato crop each week as summer begins to fade. There are more cracks, less fruit set, and smaller tomatoes, each day, so savor now what will be gone before you know it.
As these changes become more and more prevalent, this also indicates that it’s time for another season of “Outdoors in the Sun.” I can’t recall how long I have been blessed with the opportunity to bring stories from the swamps, ridges, and fields to you, but it has been quite the journey. I will have to do a little research to remind me of the timeline. In the past, I have written about not only actual experiences from the field regarding the outdoors, but more recently I have been building a platform inviting you to think about our world and environment and what we do with it, both good and bad.
Some of our readers have commented that they like the actual stories from the mountain, the blind, and the canyon, and what each excursion brings in the form of an experience. Others have brought to our attention that they enjoy the more philosophical approach to what nature really offers, not only to our well-being, but for our inner souls as well. I suppose that’s why Baskin-Robins offers 31 flavors, so I will continue to do the same and invite you to join me each week as I bring a bit of reading enjoyment and entertainment to your dens and firesides.
We are certainly experiencing uncertain times in our world today. A worldwide pandemic, social unrest, economic throes, and worries regarding our future, are just a few issues that can’t help but weigh heavily upon each of us. I will do my best to refrain from adding to the stress of everyday life by harping on these unpleasantries. Instead, I hope to, through my writing, extend an invitation to you to step back and absorb what is offered if you will only accept it. I hope you see much more than just a fallen persimmon lying on the Earth, but also think about what else it may represent.
When the leaves begin to abscise from the tips of branches, understand the true significance of the change and not just acknowledge it as plant debris drifting to the soil. Take the time to intensely study the petals of the goldenrod and coreopsis. Slow down enough to walk out and admire the soon to be blooming spider lilies. They’ll be here before you know it. I suppose I’m also inviting you to enjoy something for yourself as time in this world, as we know it, is passing quickly.
My jars of pear preserves are nestled tightly in the pantry, and there will be plenty of biscuits and coffee bringing a new aroma to my kitchen over the coming months. Stack your firewood, get ready to bring that weathered jacket or sweater from the closet, and wait on the sting to your cheeks from an arctic wind bringing skeins of snow geese southward. The time is upon us. Thank you again for another opportunity write for you, it’s going to be a good one!
Until next time, enjoy our woods and waters and remember, let’s leave it better than we found it.