I love autumn. The cooler temperatures harken new beginnings and fresh starts. As a child, I looked forward to the start of a new school year and burying my nose in fresh-smelling textbooks. Autumn is the reward for Southerners who survived summer’s humid heat. And few places are more breathtaking than the mountains we see from our backyard.
Only a few weeks ago, the trees were one single hue of fresh green, blended like melted crayons to become a multi-faceted candle, dimensional in its depths and highlights. But change is in the crisp air. Some trees, like soloists, are beginning to step out from the choir and show off their unique voices, individual singers adding to the beauty of the whole of God’s artistry. The rich nuances range from bright saffron yellow to gold, copper, pumpkin, russet, deep claret red, and everything in between.
Steve and I just returned from a quick getaway to North Carolina’s Crystal Coast, a last fling before winter’s arrival and (hopefully) before I land a job. I love the beach in early fall, empty of the summer’s tourists, with its invigorating mornings and sunny afternoons. Not only are prices greatly reduced, but our small contribution was put to good use; every fifth roof was being repaired after the hurricane.
While surrounded by landscape so similar to that of my roots, I felt a pang of homesickness for the Eastern Shore of Maryland. There is one geography that feels right to each of us, and that is usually the one of our childhood. For me, it’s rivers and oceans, marshes and flat farmland.
Before ordering crab cakes at a beachside café, I asked the waitress to describe them. She told me they were good, just not Maryland crab cakes; so unless I was from Maryland, I’d love them. “I am from Maryland,” I admitted, causing her anxiety level to rise. She warned the chef who came out later to beg for my expert culinary opinion. His crab cakes were very light and tasty, but I’m glad he didn’t try to copy my state’s recipe. It’s better not to mess with perfection. Autumn at the beach . . . that’s about as close to perfect as we’ll get.