Simply Brethren: October’s bright blue weather

Obviously, folks differ when naming their favorite months of the year. Spring is likely near the top of most folk’s lists, for the hope it embodies, even though accompanying mud is considerably disconcerting.

But for exciting color, there’s no topping fall, and October’s bright blue weather. Though blue isn’t among the color schemes of the flora – primarily the trees – it’s the dazzling palette of color against the background of blue that makes a fall picture complete. Trouble is, it seems to never last long enough, and the desire is to freeze or can it somehow, to be taken out again on a dreary winter day.

About mid-August the first hints of color are seen, and a friend who studied the seasons of full color told me that by Oct. 10, color is generally at its peak.

Funny how the fashion people some years back took note of the color of people’s complexions and hair color as related to the colors in which they seem most striking. They tied folks’ coloration to the seasons, and reasoned that folks with spring coloration look best in the colors of spring. Fall complexioned folks look best in similar colors only more vivid. Previous to that I’d not considered how spring colors seem to be the same as fall’s colors, but more muted.

Presently, the colors in our area seem to be at their peak, and we can only hope that heavy rains stay away for awhile, for they have the effect of draining the brilliance of the red leaves. This is certainly the best season for color tours, and we’ve no need to go to Vermont to get our fix of fall colors. The oaks don’t contribute much to the palette, but maples certainly are the show pieces along our highways and byways.

Not a lot more needs to be said about this rapturous season, but my spouse recently received copies of a couple of Donald Crouch’s poems that were not published in any of his poetry books. Though I haven’t written regular columns lately, I determined that at least one of Donald’s poems needed to be shared, and here it is.

October’s Bright Blue Weather


Poet Laureate of Manistee County

O suns and skies and clouds of June, and flowers of June together,

You cannot rival for one hour October’s bright blue weather.

When on the ground red apples lie, in piles like jewels shining,

When Reuben digs his mittens out and Mildred darns the lining;

When loud the bumble bee, the jerk, pretends to earn his money,

While other bees with honest work, have laid up gobs of honey;

When Grace and Lyman dig their beets, and folks set up their heaters,

When pollywogs are grown to frogs, down in the mud by Streeters;

When corn is husked and shines in piles, like your bright youthful tresses,

When Lillian lays up her Ford and has to walk to Jesse’s;

When Spike comes home to cut his wood, and camp is closed by Herman,

When Clarence warms his greenhouse up, and sprays the buts and vermin;

When some sly mink up Podunk runs where Archie’s trap will nab it,

And Popeye cleans his trusty gun in hopes of eating rabbit;

When sassafras shows golden hues, and faded are the roses,

And natives have to put on shoes or frost their little toeses;

When autumn rain begins to fall, and makes you sad and sober,

When Florida begins to call, by golly, it’s October.

For folks from Brethren reading this, there may be some curiosity about names listed, and I’ll endeavor to describe the ones I can. Reuben (Colclesser) was unofficially the town fix-it man, and Mildred was his wife. Grace and Lyman (Brandenburg) lived north of Brethren a piece and Lyman was a concertina player. (Calvin) Streeter lived on a farm south of the Manistee River. Lillian (Payne), a maiden lady with a striking red ’31 Model A Coup worked the better part of her life in Jesse (Sturdevant’s) General Store in Brethren. Spike (Clifford Payne) was Lillian’s brother, and Herman (Tritten) was groundskeeper for the campground on the north side of Lake Elinor.

Clarence (Shields) ran the gas station and an accompanying green house on the corner of High Bridge Road and Coates Highway in Brethren. Archie (MacDonald) apparently was a trapper, and Popeye (Jake Edward Jerome) apparently was a worthy rabbit hunter.

Rather than straining your eyes for more in this column, consider yourself released to take a little walk outside, and soak in the beauty of this season’s October bright blue weather. Maybe next time I’ll share another of Donald’s unpublished poems, “The Burgler.”

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