Saturday, February 2, 2008
Fall in the Mid West
Over the past few days, the strong winds here at the Walter Johnson RV Park in Coffeyville,Kansas, have stripped most of the colorful leaves from the oaks, beech, walnut, and pecan trees. Now as I look out my window, a little after dawn, I can see the intricate silhouettes of the trees against the pink, grey, and violet clouds that foretell a rain storm on it’s way.
The fallen leaves cover the ground surrounding our Winnebago with a fragrant crunchy carpet that reminds me of a tattered crazy quilt about to blow away. Two squirrels are calling to one another as they rush to beat the nutters who will be out soon to collect the pecans. They have captured Clancy’s attention and I can see as she sits in the front window how her body aches to be out there chasing through the leaves after them. Sorry, Girl, we’ll go out in a little while. We’ll wait until after the serious nut collectors, including the squirrels, have made their rounds and then we’ll fill our little canvas bag as we stroll through the park.
So many people cautioned us against heading for Kansas in November but I’m glad we came. I can’t believe how much I’m enjoying these Autumn days. A couple of years ago some of those folks told us we were nuts to go to the Omaha area at the same time of year but it proved to be one of our favorite times on the road. Fall is our favorite season and after too many years of desert, Pacific Northwest rains, and hot California, this time is good for our souls.
Could it be that some of our family and RV friends who have moved south or follow the sun have forgotten the sights, sounds, and smells of four seasons? While a constant 72 degrees might sound ideal, for us it would soon become boring. You need storms to clear the summer dryness and refresh the air with the dusty smell of crimson, gold, and russet.
In Owasso, Oklahoma last week, after a reunion with some of my favorite cousins, we passed a family raking leaves into a huge pile. I wanted to go join the kids as they jumped into it and scattered all of their Dad’s work back onto the lawn. A few streets away a fragrance enveloped us that we’d almost forgotten and we saw another group surrounding a burning pile of crisp colors. These are activities and sensations that remind us of our childhoods in New England.
Just now, while the coffee is brewing beside me, the wind is very strong and a rain of color is racing past the window. In a moment of heart over common sense, we chose to park the rig at the edge of a small pecan grove near a scattering of trees. Luckily, most of the nuts had already dropped and only a few have waited to bomb us in the middle of the night. The trees themselves serve as a buffer breaking up the wind and we can enjoy all of the action without suffering the impact.
No, I haven’t forgotten what comes after Autumn, but I’m actually looking forward to a taste (maybe just a nibble) of winter before we leave after the holidays.
Okay, time to begin looking for some recipes to use the 3 gallons of pecans we’ve collected.
See ya down the road,