At the Threshold of Fall

The Springfield Republican

Before the gray winds come and the birds go; while yet buckwheat bloom is sweet to the bees and the rising sun awakens nymphaea on the bosom of the misty pond; while yet the fields are fragrant with rowen clover, and the grouse and the wood-hen cluck to their late broods in the hazel thickets; while the lush greens of summer still possess the fields and crown the hills with sumptuous repose in the long day—in short, just now, let us give grateful praise to the uncommon loveliness of the season. How the earth has felt the luxury of its vegetable life, how flowered and leaved in marvelous gayety and profusion, how sent forth new swaying birches and cedars, hemlocks and pines, and flung forth, as in child's play, the delicate tender red leaves of spring from the ends of young maples and oaks! Nay, spring hues and fall tints have even balanced each other on the same saplings, so have remembrance and forecasting joined together in the happy unity of the year's advance.

And now that the later and more splendid of the golden-rods are beginning to glorify the plains and gleam in the bushrows between the fields, the aster tribes are beginning their royal succession in the violets and purples which are so much more emphatic than their earlier fellows of the wooded shades whose ray flowers are white, though their disk flowers are red gold and lemon yellow, ripening to deeper tones as they grow old. The character of these autumn blossoms is such as to challenge every eye, and indeed it is chiefly now that the element of daring and vigorous splendor comes into evidence, and the earth grows rich with the glory that none can pass by. It is the garnered sunshine of the centering life of the year that now echoes the great orb in which is embodied and from which proceeds the very inner vitality and energy of our familiar earth. What a tremendous revelation is this—not the gentle, tender, slow graces that begin the floral year, with their shy spiritual apparition, as arbutus, hepatica, pyrola, linnaea, partridge-berry, and such silent woodland flowers, that must be sought in their seclusion. Even the tall white daisies and buttercups seem retiring as the black-eyed Susans take their places in the fields. There are still recluse beauties in the woods, but who thinks of them in the brave onset of the goldenrods, purple asters, and the sunflowers—flowers that seem to say, as the poet appealed to the rose:—

Migration to the Canadian Northwest
September 18, 1902

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