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“Nature in the Little Finger Lakes” by Angela Cannon Crothers

Twelve Things October Brings

By Angela Cannon Crothers

October 2015

1. The haunting screech of a grey fox below the pasture awakening me in predawn’s starlight dressed hours, luring me to get up and see the rare convergence of Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Mercury, all below Leo in the eastern sky this month.

2. The sudden spell to stand still and savor the brilliant blue midday sky over a tapestry of trees in seasonal tresses.

3. The hardening, warty-skinned fruits of summer’s labor—spaghetti squash, butternut, pumpkin, and acorn—to cure and put by for fall and winter stews.

4. A feeling deep in my bones that I need to take one more paddle on Canadice or Hemlock to admire the reflection of fall colors on water, of water lighting the air, of the autumn air itself.

5. Winding country roads into small towns like Naples, with pop-up tents selling pies in flavors of Concord grape, pumpkin, apple, and elderberry, swearing that if I sell at a stand this fall I will eat at least one whole pie myself.

6. Hoards and herds of wooly bear caterpillars crossing the roads, remembering the chart my son and I made during his preschool year to investigate any truth to the folklore about the caterpillars’ black bands predicting the coming winter, and realizing how many winters have passed, with my son now grown and at Cornell.

7. Apples—Northern Spy, Lady, Jonathan, Winesap, Gala, Honeycrisp, Ida Red, and many more for eating, baking, and cider (fresh or as fermented brew).

8. Imagining great Halloween costumes I will never have enough occasions to wear: Persephone, the Snow Queen, or maybe a Seneca Lake salt mine storing gas.

9. My daughter’s high school soccer games; me wrapped in a blanket and dreaming of a hot dinner while kettles of hawks and vultures circle the thermals preparing for migration.

10. Not so much a longing for the stacking and finishing of getting wood in, but for the burning wood smell, the curl of its smoke, the deep inner radiance of a woodstove’s light, and heat as the daylight hours fold in.

11. The stacking of scratchy and clover scented hay for the horse in the cobwebby barn.

12. A traditional setting out of an extra plate for Halloween’s harvest dinner in memory of my ancestors, for those who have recently passed away, and for the one I miss whose echo of grateful prayers still whispers in my ears.

Editor’s Note: Angela Cannon Crothers is a naturalist and writer who teaches at Finger Lakes Community College and with The Finger Lakes Museum. Here are some columns that she has written about the Little Finger Lakes. Her columns also appear in the Lake Country Weekender newspaper.

Visit Angela’s website at: Angela Cannon Crothers

Read the Lake Country Weekender at: Lake Country Weekender

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