RURAL REFLECTIONS: Dancing in her leaves
Birth of lambs and calves took place in the spring. New chicks arrived, living in the brooder house. Summer brought on a new tobacco crop, a garden bursting with life and the great Darke County Fair.
We lived out in the fields and gardens during the day and parked ourselves on the porch in the evening. Fall and winter were on the horizon.
Fall was a time of preparation. It was a time to pull out the winter bedding for the family in the farmhouse and to chop a winter's worth of wood for the fireplace. It was a time for storing and repairing farm equipment and watching tobacco ripen in the shed. Jackets, hats and gloves were welcome additions against the crisp fall air.
The crisp air, the falling leaves, the lovely harvest moon came to visit and the Loxley farm began to rest. The sheep and my horse were getting new winter coats, and the chickens hung out in the coop. The cows found less to eat outside waiting instead in the barn for Dad to toss hay into the manger. School had begun and kids cherished their time at home a bit more.
Fall was a time for leaves falling and Dad raking.
When I was small, Dad would rake the leaves into square shapes, creating leafy rooms in which his youngest daughter would play. Dolls were dragged to the yard. A wagon became a car or a doll's bed.
After a while, Dad would inform me that we needed to load up the leaves to burn in the field. It was inevitable. I guess I would have a new house the next fall. The fire burned, and my little temporary home flew away in the sparks.
I love the smell of fall. Mom signaled fall by baking her pumpkin pies and apple dumplings. The house smelled of cinnamon and cooking chicken. Fresh noodles, potpie and rivoles were part of the cold weather fare. It was indeed fall on the farm.
The family was once more in the house for more hours of the day. Friends came to visit. Relatives stopped by on their way to the sunny south. Activity outside ceased while indoors it came to life. Dad was in the house most of the time, getting in Mom's way.
No longer can I go back to the farm and relive those sweet days of fall. Fall on the farm taught me to embrace each moment as they are indeed fleeting, to cherish the people who pass through the seasons of my life, to celebrate the seasons of change, especially those of an aging woman.
Fall came and I danced in her leaves.
Pamela Loxley Drake is a Beaverton resident and self-described lifelong "farm girl."
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