November Quiet

IMGP6083My daughter’s birthday month got off to an early start when she received her birthday card from the Green Bay Packers on October 31. Finally, an organization that appreciates November with the same enthusiasm as my daughter!

Typically we don’t get excited about November. It’s that brown month between the captivating color change and crisp fall air of October and the lights, tinsel and snow of December. The harvest is in. The fields are barren; the birds have migrated, and the snow has not yet covered the earth in its white winter blanket.

November is the month of naked trees, early nightfall, and frosty mornings. It’s monochromatic. In the United States, the even the major holiday in November, Thanksgiving, is primarily black, white and brown—harkening to pilgrims, turkeys, and a harvest brought in.

At first glance it is a plain month, a quiet month, a slow month.

And in our society we are not comfortable with plain, quiet and slow. Continue reading “November Quiet”

Autumn Preparations

laughing witchBack in September when I ordered my daughter’s Halloween costume, the end of October seemed an eternity away, but it’s here now. Crop dust fills the air now, creating orange, pinks, and purple-greys at twilight against which the newly naked trees find themselves silhouetted. No longer do colorful songbirds hide among leafy branches, instead giant ravens perch on spindly branches cawing their “Nevermore” warning. The wind blows in change.

October that time of frozen mornings, deliciously warm afternoons, and chilly eves. Continue reading “Autumn Preparations”

Guilty Pleasures


Golden rod and asters are the flowers remaining on the prairie
Golden rod and asters are the flowers remaining on the prairie

Fall is in the air. Darkness greets me when the alarm goes off in the mornings now, and the desire to snuggle in a warm blanket, sip on an aromatic cup of coffee and watch the sunrise in quiet comfort is almost irresistible.

The landscape is decorated with gold and crimson—soybeans turning golden brown, golden rod in full bloom, sumac plants with their crimson leaves, and red and orange rose hips and hawthorn berries color my days.

Migrating geese and cranes and cackling turkeys provide the sound track for the day. Crickets and cicadas perform a twilight symphony each evening to bring summer to a close. Stars sparkle in the clear night sky, and Orion becomes prominent in the sky—the hunter returning as autumn approaches.

I love this time of year. There are apple orchards to visit, hikes to take, fall color change to anticipate and watch. The days are clear and crisp. The air is clean and fresh. I can inhale deeply, sigh and be at peace with the changing world around me.

And, there’s one more important thing about this time of year.

It’s time for me to indulge in my guiltiest of pleasures—watching  the boys of the gridiron go at it. Continue reading “Guilty Pleasures”

The Pirate and the Princess

painting-pumpkins-cOnce upon a time there were two rather nondescript-looking characters— orange spheres, not quite perfect spheres; they were just a little bit squatty. They looked a lot like the other orange spheres that were in the field around them. They knew that they were really special on the inside but no one could see it on the outside. Then, one day, a Gentleman came along and bought them.

He put them into a dark trunk, and the orange spheres were afraid that they had been kidnapped by some nefarious villain. They were relieved when he removed them from the trunk of the car at a suburban house and placed him in the grass in the back yard. How they longed to climb on the swing set and sail the seven seas on the fort.

Then the next day the Gentleman and his Daughter brought out a big piece of cardboard and set it in the full sun. They placed the orange spheres on the cardboard. All around them, the orange spheres could see the brilliant fall colors on the leaves contrasting against the deep blue sky and the dark green lawns. Geese honked and flew in their V-formations toward the south.

Then Mother brought out paints and brushes, and the Gentleman and his Daughter said—“This one is a princess, and that one is a pirate.”

Finally someone had seen the nondescript orange spheres for what they really were.

The Daughter carefully arranged a full color palette on the cardboard and began work on the princess. The Gentleman began revealing the features of the pirate.
And so my family spent a delightful fall weekend, painting pumpkins that now grace our front porch. The pirate and the princess sit next to each other, and across from them the sits a winking fairy-god pumpkin and our second annual pink pumpkin.

I really do think Autumn is my favorite time of year. The weather is glorious, if fleeting. There are so many memories to make and so much fun to be had—bonfires, roasting marshmallows, fall festivals, corn mazes and so many other delights.

If you want, you can imagine anything– from a Great Pumpkin who delivers Halloween candy, to a princess and a pirate each trapped in the shell of a pumpkin, just waiting to express themselves and have their stories told.

Happy, Happy Fall.

© 2013 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.

A Special Kind of Canvas

We were blessed with positively beautiful weather in Southern Wisconsin, the beginning of an “Indian Summer” of sorts—with bright sunshine, crisp, clean air, brilliant blue skies. Although the fall color change is past its peak, bright gold and deep red leaves still adorned enough of the canopy to lend a sparkle of color to the landscape.

Our family wasted not a minute of this beautiful day. Continue reading “A Special Kind of Canvas”