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Shannon Bardwell: From summer to autumn


Shannon Bardwell



At first the rain fell lightly, creating little swirls on the lake. The trees dripped, as did the roof on the back porch where I was sitting watching it rain. After a hot dry summer, watching rain in the company of two cats might be my favorite pastime. It is said that cats are calming and good for the spirit. I know that a good rain on the Prairie is. 


The vegetation began to look lush and green. The hummingbirds fed and fought. A solitary red bird hopped from tree limb to feeder and back again. The cats watched, flicking their tails. Jane, in her old age, still mews like a kitten. Done watching birds, she tried to chew on my toes and climb on my keyboard, then settled back into her chair. 


Jack, Jane''s partner-in-crime, darted and dashed as if he chased some imaginary prey. Quick to the porch rail, a lengthening back stretch and sharpening of claws, then down crouching near the door; another sharpening on the floor mat. Jack is the deaf cat. His head swiveled to and fro, as if he felt some thunderous vibration but knows not from whence it came -- but then, who does? 


Soon there will be signs of the season changing. Weather was more erratic when I was young. I remember having several season changes in one week-- one day warm, like at Christmas, when we had to raise windows to have a fire, and the next day a chilling cold. But now seasons seem more regular and in their proper places. I think the body craves predictable, seasonal change. And now, as happy as I was to see summer come, I know that soon fall will be here; then winter and spring, and we will do it all over again. 


The wild cherry tree is full of green leaves with a creeping of red; the birds having eaten all the cherries. I read birds can intoxicate themselves on fermented cherry juice and fall out of the tree, though I didn''t see any falling fowl this year. As cooler air comes the leaves will turn a brilliant red, almost like a New England maple. Next to the cherry is an ash tree. This tree is my gauge for the coming of spring. I can see it from the upstairs window, and every winter as the days seemingly grow long and dreary I watch that tree and will the buds to peek back at me. As soon as they do, all is well, because I know that on a single day the tree will be green all over. Spring will have sprung. 


But for now, waiting, the cats and I sit and watch the rain as it replenishes the lakes, the earth, the gardens, the fields and the spirits of Prairie dwellers.  


Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie. Her email is [email protected]


Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.


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