Growing up in the Appalachian Mountains, I always looked forward to fall. The summertime garden and canning chores were finally done and there was more time to read and play. As days cooled, Mom pulled out the big soup pot and created savory vegetable soup and spicy chili, along with corn bread or corn pone for our evening meals. It also meant it was time to agonize over new school clothing choices from the Sears or Montgomery Ward catalogues. There was “jumping up and down” excitement when the huge box arrived, full of dresses and shirts and pants. I always looked forward to going back to school. It was my happy place – my safe place. Even today, when I feel that first frosty nip in the air, my heart beats a little faster at the memories of autumn arriving in the hills.
SUMMER LEAVES THE HILLS
Summer ripens into fall in the West Virginia hills.
The last of the garden harvest is done.
Cellars overflow with bulging burlap bags
of potatoes, apples, nuts; rainbow- hued jars
of vegetables and fruits line wooden shelves.
Air grows crisp and pungent with the smell
of burning leaves; southbound geese cry goodbye.
The scarlet scent of autumn signals briefer days,
longer, cooler nights under eider down quilts.
Pale sun scatters frosted light on bare ground,
where lately yellow poppies spread gold filigree
on the hillsides. Green time is gone.
Wild roses and fragrant sage are dead.
Frost nips the dawn.
Forest beasts seek homes, their heartbeats still.
Human beasts rest,
as autumn marches across the summer hills.
Sharon Canfield Dorsey is an award-winning poet and author of a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains; two children’s books, Herman the Hermit Crab and the Mystery of the Big, Black Shiny Thing; and Revolt of the Teacups; and a book of poetry, Tapestry. Her poetry is also included in an anthology, Captured Moments. WATCH FOR A NEW CHILDREN’S BOOK IN NOVEMBER, 2018.