Contributed by Lynn Nelson and produced by Susan Stafford.

"The Small Pleasures of Autumn"

by Lynn Nelson

Autumn Leaves

Walking out early in the morning to see where the cold air flowing down the slope has followed a thousand complex channels and frosted the dew on the grass as it passed and turned the meadow into lacework.

Coming upon a bush covered with monarch butterflies looking for all the world like dead leaves, waiting a moment, clapping my hands sharply just once, and seeing the bush burst into fire and smoke.

Stepping out to see a deep blue sky and a bright yellow sun after a powdering of snow, and having the wind blow the snow off the roof and surround me with a million multi-colored sparkles.

Seeing the world covered with diamonds the day after the ice storm.

Looking across the river to a green bank of willows and cottonwood and seeing one lone maple as bright as a candle in the dark.

Having breakfast at Annabelle's in Eudora when a good harvest is being brought in.

Having breakfast at Annabelle's in Eudora when the harvest has been poor.

Watching puppies play in the snow.

Wondering whether the cider in the pot needs one or one and a half sticks of fresh cinnamon.

Sitting by the window with a hot cup of coffee, watching the afternoon wind strip the trees bare.

Walking through the neighborhood when at least fifty million starlings have settled in the trees for the night. Especially when my cat decides to walk with me.

Listening to my neighbor tell me how much money he saved by laying in his anti-freeze in the Spring.

Walking around the house like Bat Masterson, with my caulking gun ready for a quick draw.

Driving by the golf course on a cold, wet, and dreary day and seeing all of the foursomes enjoying themselves.

Realizing with some relief that friends won't be dropping off any more zucchini for a few months.

Picking up my old electric blanket from the cleaners and finding that it works just as well as ever.

Adding an extra scoop of sunflower seeds to the birdseed, even if the bluejays are a noisy and ungrateful lot.

Snowballs with maple syrup.

Taking a chance that the weatherman is wrong, and leaving the last of the tomatos on the vine.

Looking over the videocasettes and finding a lot of good stuff I had forgotten I had.

Wishing that I were young enough again so that someone would think of buying me a sled for Christmas.

And a million other little things.

Voices 'Contents/     KanColl