Time has a way of speeding by you if you’re not careful. Before you know it, summer is gone and autumn arrives with finality. We have had a nice stretch of riding weather and the landscapes have been extremely beautiful; a lot due to the warmer weather and abundant rain; keeping the grass greener than green. Yet the nights have been cool letting the trees change into their annual coat of fall colors.
A few days ago, I headed up to Round Top Park in Athens, PA for a quiet and solitary ride. The day was inspirational. However, today is another rainy day; giving me the opportunity to sit down and write a poem about my ride through the autumn woods.
Autumn on Horseback
by Pat Miran
Trees painted yellow gold, pumpkin orange and fire red;
Wind, sweet and crisp as a sip of fresh apple cider,
Blows a balmy gust
A playfully seductive prance
As the brittle leaves dance an explosive dance
A jitterbug on old oak, maple and willow branch.
Overhead the ether blue beyond blue,
Bright, light azure, blended cerulean,
It weaves and whispers among the trees;
It winks and makes melody with the dried leaves;
An operetta pulsating with a chorus of color.
Rifle-shots rip the air and the mare startles.
Is it target practice or a rogue hunter?
The deer have vanished,
Ghosts of the autumn woods.
The horse’s hooves crunch littered leaves,
Gravel sparkles silver, embedded in baked clay;
The roadway twists, turns and climbs a ridge,
Crisscrossed and slashed by shadows
Black skeletons etched into the earth.
The horse tilts her head and listens,
Stops, snorts and stares up the road.
Secret footsteps cut the silence like an ax;
We wait in the road for the unseen tracks
Of something or someone who is coming.
Round a blind turn comes a woman dressed in plaid,
Red and black,
Her eyes hidden by a shadow cut across her face
And her dog barks and jerks the leash and barks again,
A ray of light reveals the road and she is seen.
A rule of gossiping ramblers in the backwoods
A nexus of news, weather and trails
The leaves quiver, whisper rumor and take heed
And then its over,
My horse’s hooves tap rhythm at a steady speed
As we fade away into the deep, dark woods.