The Ottumwa Courier

October 18, 2012

Autumn reverie

Et Cetera

former Courier editor

OTTUMWA — “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

— Albert Camus

Many of us were wondering if the summer drought would affect the glory of autumn foliage. Not to worry. The last two weeks have been beautiful. The stretch of highway from the fire station north is a wonderful, short drive to view the colored leaves. Some neighborhood trees are spectacular, also. In my neck of the woods, the walks and streets by Memorial Park show off the changing tree colors. I am loving the pink/red color of some tree leaves. They intersperse with the gorgeous yellows, dark reds and various shades of brown of others.

Driving to Des Moines recently, we were rewarded with areas of absolute beauty.

Loree Roach, the late Courier women’s editor, would run Hal Roach’s column every fall. He did write the best about autumn.

I had the privilege recently to drive a friend to the airport in Des Moines. We chatted so much, the time just flew by, from lunch to sitting with her a bit at the airport. Linda is a good writer and has been thinking about a short story idea of just where home is. She was asked that not too long ago when returning “home” to her husband in West Virginia after being at “home” in Ottumwa with her parents for a visit. She told me she couldn’t even answer. To her, I think, both places are “home.” To her, the real home is in heaven. I think she could and should write this story. I’ve never heard it expressed so well. She also shared another thought — that to many of us, our parental home is a memory home.

I have struggled with that, during down times, when all I wanted to do was move back to my small town. She is right. It is a memory home. I could live there, but it wouldn’t be the same. The wonderful people I knew there are all gone. The freedom of small town life in the 1940s and 50s is gone. Do parents still let their kids roam the streets day or night, knowing everyone was looking out for them? From some of the sad news we read, I would think not. Parental caution is always advised now — the times, they just aren’t safe as they used to be.

I wanted to tell Linda she was traveling home to her husband. But I know what she feels. I was reminded of every time I left my little town, waving good-bye to my Mom sitting on her porch.

She and I are always daughters, and that connection is there to stay. I envied her a bit. I wanted to be driving back to my husband. But, on the way back, my daughter called wanting to check on me. Then my friend called, wanting to know when I would return. I was driving back home — to the home I’ve lived in the longest of my life.

My memories are here, and my hopes are here. My little family is growing, and I can’t wait for the joy of being a grandparent.

And, my friends are here. They keep me going, and I love all of you for being here for me.

I used to dread this time of year with the waning sunlit days and the chill in the air reminding me of the long winter nights ahead.

But, this autumn is different. The enjoyment of the changing colors fills the heart with gladness. Things tend to settle down a bit, and we nest and prepare for winter days and night.

Our bodies and our souls need this resting time.

For now, let us be grateful for the rain and the beauty all around us.

Judy Krieger is a retired Courier editor