Autumn ... the year’s last, loveliest smile.
– William Cullen Bryant
I had almost given up on fall.
In the past few weeks, I took drives to both Atlanta and the Upstate of South Carolina and had been pretty disappointed in the colors of the leaves.
So much of them seemed ugly and brown and dead, and no amount of bright blue sky could save the view.
I blamed a soggy summer, a dry September and some recent freezes for the drab effort ... but then, after I had quit thinking about it, here came the golds.
Last week, the elms around my house turned bright yellow almost overnight, and the lower angle of autumn sun seemed to make them glow through the windows each morning and afternoon.
The pear trees around the neighborhood added their unexpected dark oranges, and the small maples on either side of my patio showed off a scarlet more red than a cardinal’s blush.
Altogether, they put the awe in autumn.
Better late than never.
LATE BLOOM: And that brings me to the little yellow sunflowers in my small front flower bed.
They were big and full over the summer but went away in September and shriveled when the temperatures hit the 30s.
I had almost pulled them out of the small plot that lines the sidewalk. They looked dried-up, dead and gone. But I got busy and forgot about it.
And one morning, I went out and there were medium-size little blossoms, all of them that deep, dark, school-bus yellow.
They hadn’t given up. They were still trying to do what flowers do.
Now, I’m not a guy who usually considers or even finds inspiration in the determination of flower blossoms, but these four impressed me.
A reminder not to give up.
TODAY’S JOKE: Jim Hope shares this:
A woman ran a red traffic light and crashed into a man’s car. Both cars were heavily damaged, but neither driver was hurt.
“Wow,” the woman said, “just look at our cars! But we’re unhurt. This must be a sign that we should meet and be friends and live together in peace for the rest of our days.”
“I think you’re right,” the man said.
“And look,” the woman continued, “here’s another miracle. My car is completely demolished, but my bottle of wine didn’t break. Surely we should drink this vintage and celebrate our good fortune.”
The man nodded in agreement, took the bottle, drank deeply, then handed it to the woman.
She smiled, put its top back and handed it back to him.
“Aren’t you going to drink any?” the man asked with surprise.
“Nah,” she said. “I think I’ll just wait for the police.”