Overnight, it seemed, the autumn in this midlands place of ours turned rich with color.
Part of the magic was the suddenness of the transformation — rather like the actress who arrives in ordinary street clothes, disappears into her dressing room, then emerges so quickly, and so beautifully costumed, as to strike the audience speechless.
Life in the urban forest here at the prairie’s edge is of an uneven texture. July and August can test the patience. Why, we sometimes ask, would anyone choose to live in an oven? Then comes the turn to October and November, and with that the question is answered.
One day last week our lawn filled up with blackbirds — 40 or more of them — pecking in the sod for grubs and worms. Soon, you can be sure, the last of the monarch butterflies will be passing through on their migration to the wintering place in Mexico, where they have been known to congregate in such numbers that, though weighing only 2/100ths of an ounce each, they sometimes break the limbs of trees in which they roost.
We had the pleasure of spending some time last week with a visitor from New York. Coming from that metropolis, where the view from one’s apartment window tends to be only the face of the next building, she found the space and greenery of our city refreshing.
We live in midtown, not far from a handsome boulevard that runs for some 40 blocks through a largely residential area, its broad, grassy median bordered on both sides by mature trees that are among the first to color, taking on a soft maroon hue that soon turns to brilliant gold.
The way is further ornamented by a magnificent fountain and several reflecting pools where geese nest in springtime and where, when they were small, I taught my two daughters to use fishing rods and reels.
I suppose there are other places where I could happily learn to live. Paris, for one. A town somewhere in the front range of the Rocky Mountains for another.
But I do not intend to try. This is where I’ve spent all my years, and where I plan to spend however many more may follow.
For more of C.W. Gusewelle, go to gusewelle.kansascity.com.