Fall in the Woods

Dwight with bird house from Lauralville 001

Growing up playing in the woods all summer was wonderful. We ran over the trails and played Cowboys and Indians, Davey Crockett, and Daniel Boone. We had no video games or smartphones. We spent our days in the outdoors. I hope you will bear with me for reposting this bit of nostalgia. I posted it last year and will probably post it again next year. Perhaps you can picture the changes in our woods as fall came on each year. This is where I grew from a child into a teenager at Masontown, Pennsylvania.

Fall in the Woods at Masontown

I can still remember, like it was yesterday
Fall in the woods at Masontown

Cold weather closed in early
Leaves in the woods
Turned shades of yellow, orange, red, and brown
What was once a lush green woods
Filled with green hollow stemmed weeds
Now becomes blanketed
With a soft silent coating of leaves

The Silver Maple and Butternut next to the house
Dropped their yellow-tan leaves
The quince turned yellow-brown
As the apple trees blended into the scene
With rich deep red leaves
Highlighted by a back drop of color
Pouring from the shallow woods
Extending from our house
To the church cemetery

On the driveway black walnuts still in the hulls
Driven over with car tires
Squishing and shelling
Removing the hard nuts inside
Picking them up, peeling off the excess
While blends of saffron, amber, and walnut stains
Are left on my hands and under my nails

From driveway to furnace room
Down in the basement
The nuts carried to be dried
For cracking with hammer and brick

Out in the field behind the chicken house
Rows of asparagus
Lined the edge of the woods
Bent over like a hundred old men
Kinked and twisted
Dry hollow stems
Seed pods still clinging stubbornly to the tops
Some will weather the snow and wind
Only to be disked up in the spring
To start all over again

Masontown 1972 (2)

Out in the woods,
Paths where our bare feet ran all summer long
Disappeared under layers of leaves
As frost took its toll on the trees
Now I can walk through the woods,
With a borrowed single-shot 12 gauge,
Looking in the pit holes for rabbits,
Flushing out ring-necked pheasants
From the edge of the corn field
Just beyond the back side of the woods

Life was simple then,
Rabbits shot were few and pheasants even fewer
But walking through the woods and field
Was an experience I enjoyed
Just for the sake of being there

The woods remained stark and bare
For the rest of the winter,
But it’s passing and recurring beauty
Left indelible impressions
On my mind for years to come

Sometimes I wish
I could just be there once again

Masontown, PA circa 1949 001

Photos: Dwight L. Roth & Family Album

 

 

9 thoughts on “Fall in the Woods

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