Things still to come

Published 3:50 am Wednesday, October 9, 2019

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The warm afternoon breeze drifts lazily through my backyard sanctuary. My largest live oak nestles under its boughs an old wooden swing that has traveled this road with me for many years. She creaks and her chains gently clank with each push of my feet as I relax into her peaceful arms.

What a treat it is for the more moderate temperatures to allow me a comfortable place to relax and reflect. Every so often a gust of wind rushes by bringing with it a trill from the chimes on the back porch and a burst of cooler air. Across the pond a large Sycamore stands proudly in her glorious coat of yellow and burnished orange. The colorful leaves flutter, but hold on tightly not yet willing to release from the home of their youth and float to the earth. The first year, Mulley grasses — lovely light green plumes dance and sway with the wonderful wind song of this autumn afternoon in the south. They look as beautiful as I imagined they might when they were planted several months ago.

A garden spider drops from the oak onto my computer almost causing me to retreat to another spot, but I whisk it away and continue my pleasant afternoon musings. My faithful dachshund, Missy, sits quite contentedly at my feet with her head tucked in her napping position.

The water shimmers as dragonflies swoop along the edge intermittently landing on water lilies. These lilies have stubbornly sprouted along our shoreline in absolute defiance of all our work to eradicate them last year. With gardening and pond care we can do our absolute best to cultivate or eradicate, but nature often has the last word.

It’s always best to work with and not against the soil, sun, and weather patterns of our area. While it can be a temptation to plant some exotic species from a far away clime, the best choices are local. And plants that naturally grow successfully in our area are so much less work. The choices are absolutely endless, but may require a little thought and planning. Just because a plant is available locally does not mean that it grows well in our area. It’s best to do a little research before purchasing and planting to ensure a beautiful landscape, but not many things are more satisfying than the beauty of a lovely yard or garden.

That stubborn little spider continuously jumps from place to place, and the breeze blows warmer causing me to search for the air conditioned comfort of indoors, but this taste of fall whets my appetite for the cooler days that will shortly be upon us. I give thanks for the joys of shared bonfires, roasted marshmallows, football, pumpkins, and hot-spiced drinks with friends and family. I know the crisp, cool days of autumn aren’t quite here, but with this respite from the heat comes a promise of lovely things to come.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at