The Prune: Falling into the realization that another summer’s gone


by Todd Sharp

Fall in abundance.

There is so much food to be canned, frozen and prepared to store for the long nights and shorter days ahead. Apples picked, rutabagas, carrots, onions and potatoes dug, squash piled up. Lots of good stuff to be eaten and preserved.

As a creature of habit or maybe genetics, I bulk up when fall arrives. I layer in a little  body fat with brats at tailgating parties and the extra slice of flakey crust apple pie, preparing for the sedentary football season and another cold winter.

Maybe it’s a symbiotic  parasitic adaptation manipulated by the intruding mice making sure the floor and couch cushions are littered with plenty of crumbles and food bits?

I’m not willing to admit the unpleasantness of autumn, the putting to bed of the summer season.

There is still so much to get done, and now with a warmer climate we have a few months to go. I like fall and I like change, but dread the reality that winters can get raw and bitter.

The rusty reds, brilliant orange and yellows are gorgeous in backdrop of the cerulean sky.

The apples are tasty and crisp. The morning air is exhilarating from last night’s cool, northerly air breezing through windows left open from summer’s habits. The pleasant cozyness first thing in the morning of sliding on a favorite sweatshirt to hold in body warmth then creek downstairs to brew coffee. Sipping hot coffee not only to take the edge off of sleep but to warm your hands on the ceramic mug bought as a souvenir from a shop from this summer’s vacation.

Turning up the water a notch hotter in the shower, staying a little longer and getting out guaranteed you’ll actually have a good chance to dry off before you start sweating again.

The corn fields we drove past all summer, watching to see if they made it “knee high by the  4th of July,” collectively surprising us one day when the entire field is in tassels. Now, the stalks are drying out, slumping down; ready to make corn flakes, ethanol or pig feed.

Rows of sturdy, green soybeans, go quickly from a few yellow-green leaves to rusty-brown, and drop off, leaving the bean pods as embarrassed and naked as a boy scout with his undies run up the flagpole.

The goldfinches are gone and the geese are honking, the birds are on the move. Summer warmth is on the way south, patiently waiting at the equator for us to enjoy our winter vacations in February and March.

All the signs and cliches point out we are entering the end of another summer season.

Sure is beautiful.

Can’t wait to do it again.

Editor’s note: When not acting like a tree in autumn — getting older but also more colorful — Todd Sharp is selling advertising for the Green Laker, Express and The Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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