Brice Stump: Relishing the beauty of in-between season

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Crickets play among the dry golden stalks of corn, chirping and rattling leaves as they move along the watermelon field’s edge. Lush morning glory vines creep high on corn stalks, with purple, white, pink and crimson trumpets bright against a wall of tan stalks.

The last of summer’s watermelons lay bare in the field, yellowed and bleached by  the sun. The road through the patch is worn bare by truck tires, and tall, aging, weeds between the ruts are just days away from releasing their seeds.

Most of the vines had died, except those determined to live until mid-October’s first frost.

Summer has grown old when the yellow and brown leaves of the walnut trees flutter to the ground, leaving behind bare limbs heavy with clusters of hard, rough, green walnuts.

The slightest breeze carries them to the pumpkin patch, where twirling leaves fall onto dew-covered orange pumpkins. There some remain until mid-morning when the sun burns away the night’s cold and wet veil.

The soft and silvery down of milkweeds pods are already in the wind, too, whisked high above the fields of naked soybean stalks and pods drying in the warmth of an afternoon sun..

The black-purple plump berries of the polk weed are mature and already starting to drop from thick limbs. Here and there a red or yellow patch of color appears in the edge of the woods by the farm lane.

The bickering humming birds are leaving too, and the bumble bee-like humming of their wings is replaced by the honking of the first flock of Canada geese looking for lost kernels of corn in a cut over field.

 It is the in-between season, when summer has grown weak, so tired, and an impertinent youthful autumn, brisk and bursting with the promise of color, comes as a tease on cool evening breezes. It’s the time of year when the morning are so chilly, the afternoons so warm.

It won’t be long now until the first wood fire of the season is lit. Curls of smoke will drift  through trees burning with yellow, red and crimson colors and be swept around rooftops to bring the comforting smell of a warming fireplace or wood stove to a chilly breeze.

The smell of suntan lotion and mowed lawns is being replaced with the farm smells of cut corn, drying hay, and the heavenly Eastern Shore’s version of jasmine.

After a long summer, it is time to rest and consider the parts of our lives that will slip away, too, with the changing seasons. We will embrace and carry with us the fun times, the delicate, gentle moments, the laughter, and leave behind some of our fears and tears.

There is a new day beyond this evening’s beautiful pink and gray sunset and a night of music by harmonizing crickets.

 Yes. It is time now to sit on the porch in the comfy, big, wooden rocker and let the mind and soul blend with the calm and peace of the in-between season.

Contact Brice Stump at


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