by Audrey L. Barclay
Nature has provided the leaves with a calendar to tell them when to start changing from the faded, dusty green of their summer attire to their "Jacob's coat of many colors." It seems to happen almost overnight. Nowhere is the scene more glorious than right here in our Ozark hills, especially the one I see from my kitchen window.
A light frost only hastens the process, but a hard one brings a quick change to winter dress of drab browns for all except the evergreens dotting the landscape.
The tall hillside is a tangled mass of many shades, of many colors. Indian paint brush and some kinds of oaks burn like flames of fire, others of the oak family are of bronze or burnished brown. The scarlet of the sugar maples mingles with the bright yellow of soft maples and hickory-nut trees. Here and there a crimson vine of poison ivy twines its way up the trunk of a tree.
The fencerows are overgrown with drooping stalks of pokeberries, the raisin-purple fruit still clinging tenaciously to the parent plan, which is almost smothered by huge clumps of crimson sumac, with its orange-red berries. Not quite so plentiful are the lovely bittersweet shrubs, with their tiny, orange-tinged-with-red berries, and countless other colorful trees and vines of which I do not know the names.
A small lake at the foot of the hill reflects the picture, adding a background of blue sky where light popcorn clouds float lazily by.
Although many have tried, only that Master of all artists, God, has ever succeeded in producing such a scene of splendor.
Jason Rust, grandson of Audrey Barclay, shot this photo of
the Ozarks' autumn colors that Audrey described as "glorious."