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I have mowed the lawn for the last time—three times!

Time change 

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I should have known that we would first notice it in the garden. Talk about ground level, back to our roots, groundswell, down to earth. It's all there.

The locavores had been going on and on about somebody having some just harvested local asparagus. Come on, that's a spring crop here in Carolina. But I had to check it out. Sure enough, at the back corner of our vegetable garden, our dormant asparagus patch was pushing up fresh shoots in September. Tasty!

Not only that—the green peppers, usually so tired this time of year, were putting out sweet white flower blossoms. The basil and parsley mounds, trimmed and clipped a month ago, were as vibrant green as when the calendar read July. White potatoes, tossed in rows where squash and melons once cavorted, were sprouting foot-tall bushes. I could get used to this. Ping-pong-ball-sized green tomatoes kept showing up on scrawny vines. Where did they get their energy?

Regular rain, sunny days; sure makes for good change. The blueberries lasted a full extra month. With the sun lower in the sky, the berries weren't as sweet but, there they were, fall's surprise bonus for the birds and the deer. While traditionally it's time to mulch the daylilies, how could we? Tender green new growth was everywhere above the pine bark.

And can I get a witness on this next one? I have mowed the lawn for the last time—three times!

Even Grey Chicken came out of retirement to show the young Turks how it's done. She's laying four eggs a week, bless her heart. And getting more exercise, too. There is a lot of energy in the air.

We are in the wide grove of "first frost dates." The almanacs say it could be anytime from Oct. 23 until Nov. 5. We are ripe for some changes. Leaves are falling, winds are shifting and pages are turning. That old RealFeel is going to be bouncing like the Dow. By the next full moon, we will all have our sweaters and blankets out, and we'll have a new president.

One recent evening, I really knew something was going on when my daughter called from her room asking what I knew about that song, "For What It's Worth."

Seriously? You're asking me that question? I did what any grownup would do when asked a question by a teenager about music or pop culture: I over-talked. Introducing the long version of the power-to-the-people '60s, complete with soundtrack, cameos and clenched fist slogans. There must be four different versions in boxes in the attic of that Buffalo Springfield anthem of my youth. And faded photos, posters and ticket stubs.

Whoa, Dad. TMI.

Funny how I knew it wasn't about facts but attitude, not even content but ambiance and confidence.

"OK, OK. I got it," she smiled. I heard the song softly playing on her laptop in the background.

All she needed to know were the first two lines:

"There's something happening here,
What it is ain't exactly clear."

  • I have mowed the lawn for the last time—three times!

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