As summer turns into fall, the cars start drifting by looking out at the fields and hills. Some come admiring the colors. Others come to gather walnuts. Others are scouting out the deer.
Few cars stop to let the people out. That’s a shame. Summer turns into fall in small ways. Those riding by catch only glimpses as one smear of yellow seems like another.
Along my Ozark road summer turns into fall gradually or seems to. Walking along the road lets me see the changes.
Throughout the summer sunflowers blaze from early Black Eyed Susans into Brown Eyed Susans into a half dozen other sunflowers. White daisy fleabanes cast their small white heads around the yellows.
Finally the Jerusalem artichokes open their orange yellow flowers. Yet they are already competing with goldenrod and Drummond asters; both are fall flowers.
Summer turns into fall with yellow goldenrods, blue asters, white heath asters and pink tall thistles. The sunflowers disappear leaving fall flowers controlling the road.
Overhead poison ivy and Virginia creeper are wreathing the tree limbs with red. The dogwoods are turning dark reddish purple on the hillsides.
Squirrels are busy now. Black walnuts are their prizes. They snag these and carry them away.
Hickories are dropping their nuts. Acorns are ripening on the oaks.
Several grasses are seeding bringing wild turkeys out into the pastures. Although the river oats line parts of the road, the turkeys stay away. They are much too wary to risk the cars.
Deer are different. They graze along the road leaping over fences and bounding off when cars come by. Fawns are known now only by their small size and staying with their mothers.
This year the road has huge stretches of giant ragweed. Birds are delighted with the seed bounty. They hang on the stouter stems picking the seeds, flitting away with flashes of color when approached.
Summer turns into fall here in the Ozarks in much the same way every year. Yet each year is unique. Walking the road is how I see this.
“My Ozark Home” is available as a pdf now. The print book will be available by the end of September.