October, Pennsylvania

By Christopher Kent    

I’ve lived in many places in the years I’ve spent on Earth
And had the chance to travel far and wide, for what it’s worth.
But I’m fond of Pennsylvania, for a host of happy reasons;
One is that I’ve always loved the changing of the seasons.
Today, as I sit in my house, the autumn sun is bright;
And yet there is a difference from the harsher summer light.
The angle of the sun has changed; today the sunlight falls
On different places, making different patterns on our walls.
Outside, the lush green leaves of summer now are changing color
They make the skyline bright (though once they fall, it gets much duller).
Windows don’t stay open long, October’s much too chilly
The shorts and flipflops we wore back in August now seem silly.
We’ve taken down the wind chimes from the porch where they’ve been hanging;
The autumn winds had changed their gentle summer tones to clanging.

On weekend days we work out back, to prep the place for cold;
The grass is turning from its summer green to brown and gold
We stow the summer furniture that sat out in yard
And separate out things too worn that we can now discard.
We keep an eye out for the local bear, an aggravation;
He eats our bird seed every fall to prep for hibernation.
The firewood is piled high, awaiting winter’s coming
The hummingbirds and bees are gone (which means a lot less humming).
In fact, familiar summer sounds, the crickets and the frogs,
Have fallen silent; now we only hear some barking dogs.

Some days each gust of autumn wind brings down a rain of leaves
To fall across the lawn and fields, the gutters and the eaves
And then we have to rake them up; it’s fun, if truth be told…
Much better than the stuff we have to shovel once it’s cold.
On other days a gentle breeze evokes a lovely feeling;
The shifting of the dried leaves makes a sound that’s most appealing.

Some days I take a walk. Compared to summer I feel sadder;
The cheerful plans I had in June no longer seem to matter.
I hear leaves crunching underfoot, geese honking overhead;
They do not stay to deal with cold; they’re headed south instead.
Some days an endless stream of blackbirds cross the sky in flight
I sit and watch for 20 minutes; still no end in sight.
Like geese, they must be headed south until the winter ends
They seem to like the benefits of traveling with friends.
I smell the smell of drying leaves, the smoke of firewood burning;
There’s nothing like a walk in autumn, when the season’s turning.

In town the streets are lively, though the temperature is dropping;
Already stores have bright displays promoting Christmas shopping.
It seems like every restaurant is serving pumpkin dishes
Enough to satisfy the greatest pumpkin lover’s wishes.
The young kids can be heard discussing plans for trick-or-treat:
Their Halloween disguise of choice, the junk they hope to eat.
Thanksgiving’s coming too, of course, but that, no one’s discussing;
It isn’t spooky; there’s no presents. So, no need for fussing.
Meanwhile, sweet summer memories still pass before my eyes;
The holidays ahead are just a consolation prize.

Back at home I see a snowflake fall; now there’s a dusting
The thermostat that we ignored all summer needs adjusting.
We’re looking through our closet shelves in search of warmer clothing;
The thought that streets may soon be icy brings up fear and loathing.
The heat starts coming on at night, a blanket’s on the bed;
The porch swing sits unused; we choose to stay inside instead.

Somehow, despite its drawbacks, the romance of fall is clear;
It warms our hearts despite the chill; it’s a lovely time of year.
I know that when October comes some people dream of going
To other warmer places where they need not prep for snowing.
I’m sure it’s nice in Florida, but I’m content to stay
In Pennsylvania,
Where October brings new pleasures every day.

Copyright 2016 by Christopher Kent. All rights reserved.