C.W. Gusewell

THE KANSAS CITY STAR

Falling hard for spring and fall

First there was that afternoon a couple of weeks ago with the temperature in the 70s. Runners were abroad in shorts. The dogs, Cyrus and Buddy, spent the whole day outdoors in the fenced backyard. My wife proposed a picnic.

It almost seemed like the gift of an early spring.

A day later it cooled a bit. And soon after, in the night, there came a generous shower. The following morning there was a mob of robins on the lawn – 50 of them at least, or maybe more.

I know that “mob” is not the correct word for such numbers. But “flock” seemed inadequate for that congregation. Better to call it a miracle of robins.

The earth, stone hard all through the drought of summer, fall and start of winter, had been softened by the rain. The birds were probing it for earthworms, which, with seeds and berries finished, are their feast of choice.

Then the wind turned round to the northwest. The sky darkened.

In the morning we woke to snow.

All that in the space of hardly more than a week.

And, foolishly, my thoughts raced ahead again to fishing, morel mushrooms and the annual wild turkey hunt.

I’ve read that a climate such as ours, with clearly defined seasons, is healthier than a monochromatic environment of always summer.

And there used to be much I enjoyed about winter.

The year we moved onto the block, I built a snow family to introduce us: a snow man and snow woman, two little snow toddlers, two snow dogs and a snow cat.

There were joyful afternoons on the nearby sledding hill as our daughters grew. I loved frosty mornings in quail meadows and the deer woods. And skiing was wonderfully exhilarating – until one regrettable mistake on a black-diamond Colorado slope.

But it’s April through June I live for now, and from September until the last of the colorful leaves fall. And that has to do with more than just the softness of the weather.

The greater reason, I believe, is that those are the times of year most freighted with rich memories: the excitement of heading away to school, my first weeks as a beginner in the craft at which I’ve spent all my working years, the ceremony in which a dear girl and I pledged to find our way together.

Lives, too, have seasons.

Whatever I may have been before, I freely confess that I’m now a spring and autumn man.