The rain finally came. We had suffered many days of dry weather, with the creek almost dried up and with just a puddle here and there to prove it was a creek. Meadows and lawns alike turned brown and sere, and some water wells went dry. It seemed that the leaves would only turn just a brown shade and not the glorious multi color that autumn usually brings. A drought condition was pronounced in several counties, as many were suffering for water.
We prayed for rain, as many others did. God always knows when to answer prayer, and sent the rain. Right before the rain came, Criss told me to look at the moon. It was tipped up on its edge, and he told me it was spilling out water. Sure enough, the rain came in the night and we heard it drumming on the roof. It is amazing how the grass grew greener, as thirsty rootlets drank in the moisture. The meadows also have perked up, and the cattle finds more grass to munch. I don’t know if it is the crabgrass that responds now, but it is nourishing to the animals.
Although it has never frosted here yet, the nights are becoming cooler and a blanket on the bed feels good. Yard flowers are still blooming, although they too suffered from lack of rain. Frost will come soon, laying them to rest. The seasons come, and the seasons go, and we are thankful for each one. We are reaching the season now when Nature prepares the earth for her long sleep. She can lie dormant and gather nourishment and strength for another growing season.
I wonder if sometimes we humans need a “resting season.” Burdens can grow so heavy, and stress can pull us low, until we feel that we are withering. I am so thankful that we can find our rest in Jesus. Most of us are familiar with the promise given in Matthew 11:29 which says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
Rest was also promised in the Old Testament of the Bible. When God called Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, God told him, “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:14). Jesus also advocated physical rest, when he told his disciples in St. Mark 6-31, “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” (That should tell us that our pastors sometimes need a vacation!)
As the autumn season rolls on, we are privileged to enjoy more wild foods from our hills. Pawpaws are here, and it is one of my favorite fall fruits. It is native to our country, and my research reveals that it also is beneficial to our health. It can be used for weight control, and is a rich source of minerals that will help your body metabolize other foods that you eat. I like pawpaws because they are just plain good. The flavor has been described to taste like mango, banana and pineapple, but to me it is like delicious custard.
In my opinion, pawpaws can be used in any recipe that calls for bananas. After the green fruit turns black and soft, it is then ready to eat. Only the pulp is eaten or used in a recipe, as the large black seeds and black skin is inedible. After it ripens, it has a short shelf life and should be used quickly. I found a recipe that my sister Mary Ellen sent me years ago for a pawpaw cake, and it was delicious. I want to share it with those who were lucky enough to find pawpaws.
- Mix together in a large bowl 3 cups plain flour, 2 cups sugar, one teaspoon soda, one teaspoon salt, one teaspoon cinnamon, and one cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts.) In medium bowl beat 3 eggs, 1 ½ cups oil, 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla, 2 cups mashed pawpaws, and one 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained. Pour this mixture over the flour mixture and mix thoroughly, but do not beat. Pour into a greased and floured 13x9 cake pan and bake at 325 for 35-40 minutes, or until toothpick test shows that it is done.
Frost with cream cheese frosting made like this: Soften one 8 ounce package of cream cheese and cream together with ½ cup butter or margarine at room temperature. Add one pound confectioner’s sugar and one teaspoon vanilla and beat well. Frost cake and then sprinkle with one cup chopped pecans. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Be sure and cool cake well before frosting. Mary Ellen said she used pecans in this cake, but she added that our native black walnuts would be delicious in it.
The sun went down last night in a blaze of crimson glory as October is beginning to show her finest days. This time of year I like to reread Jesse Stuart’s “Hie to the Hunters,” and traipse through the woods with Did and Sparkie. I can almost hear the deep baying of the foxhounds. Our hunting dogs grow restless also, as if they can sense the changing of the seasons and know it is now time to prowl the woods to hunt.
I received a poem from Sue Smoot of Cedarville that reflects my own feelings about this autumn season. I think my readers will like it too.
I walk along the gravel road,
The air is soft upon my face.
The frogs are calling in the glen,
The hoot of an owl comes from his place.
High in a tree in the shadowy wood,
He’ll leave his limb soon in search for food.
I thought how nature’s seasons reflected mine,
Spring, summer and autumn, this is now my time.
The days grow short as winter approaches,
The light is waning, darkness encroaches.
Memories swirl round me, I walk on alone,
The glow in the window beckons me home.
My days also grow shorter, and my father’s prayer echoes down through the years yet today. He would pray, “The evening shadows have gathered around us once more, and we are one day closer home.” That is also my prayer.