As a child growing up in West Texas, there were a few things that signaled to me that Fall was coming – Labor Day, the beginning of the school year, and the Summer heat giving way to more temperate weather. However, there was only one thing that meant to me the season had finally arrived. Riding in the back seat while we drove across two-lane highways, I would peer out the window intently trying to spot a few bales of hay and bright orange pumpkins carefully arranged near the driveways or along the fenceposts of the farms we passed.
To this day, I go out of my way to drive on the old two-lane highways, past farms and fences, trying to spot these fall emblems. The décor ranges from a simple single hay bale and pumpkin to much more extravagant displays, but they all warm my heart to see, conjuring memories of Octobers spent with my family. I even drive miles out of my way to pass through small towns – so small you could blink and miss them – to see the displays set up by a few households that I know will put in a great deal of effort each year.
Lately I have been paying extra close attention on my drives to spot any hint of these harvest scenes, worried that they might not appear this year. To my relief, I have begun to spot the familiar bales of hay topped with pumpkins. While they always mean that autumn has arrived, this year I think they symbolize even more than that. They serve as a reminder that no matter what happens, people will find a way to celebrate the important things in life like holidays and the changing of the seasons, even if it is just through a few modest decorations arranged along the side of the road.
I’m glad to be able to find these simple joys and silver linings these days – and I’d love to hear about your favorite signs that Fall has arrived and your favorite Fall memories.
© Tyra Manning 2020