Given my Hoosier roots, Kristy has dedicated one of her excellent Every-Day-in-October-is- Halloween posts to yours truly. She posts Little Orphant Annie, by James Whitcomb Riley, our Hoosier National Poet.
Riley has a prominent place in my family lore. My grandmother read these poems to my father when he was very small, and if I were to dial his number right now and ask him, he would be able to recite all of Little Orphant Annie from memory. I've heard him do it many times, but the most memorable was before my grandmother died four years ago. They sat at the table together and each would recite a line, one after the other. It was a lovely moment of comity between two people so thoroughly alike they spent most of their time at odds.
Last spring, my dad sent the Kid The Complete Poetical Works of James Whitcomb Riley. I think he's ready to appreciate it now, but I think I'll start with Wortermelon Time, given his fondness for them.
Kristy's post, surprisingly enough, sent a zing of homesickness through me. I confess I'm not a huge fan of autumn in the northwest, I think simply because it's not what I'm used to. It's very wet, and while the colors last forever, it feels more like going straight from summer to winter to me.
Back in Indiana, that place caught in the nexus of south and midwest, autumn is a cool, gentle interlude before the gray settles in. The colors are many and brilliant. Pumpkins are everywhere, along with the pungence of deciduous deadfall. During autumn, a landscape that has not aged well -- where prairie flowers have been buried beneath monocultures of genetically engineered commodity corn and strip malls -- has a moment of glory returned. Pockets of the old and graceful Indiana are nestled here and there. The glacial lakes in the north and the endless hills of the south are all awakened and lovely in the fall.
I miss it just now.