October Rain

There’s nothing more spectacular than a season change. And around here, we all have the chance to get up close and personal with the shifting of breeze, the cool down or warm up and the new colors the big guy decided to paint with. So when I feel the shift, when I hear the leaves start to crackle or take notice of something new poking through the ground in the spring, I pay attention. I look around. Because I hate to miss a day of it, really. It happens so fast. One morning you will be walking through oak groves of plush grass, under a canopy of leaves sparkling with life and green, and the next those leaves have all changed clothing and some have already decided to turn in early for the year.

It’s this time of year, the autumn, that I hate to be away from the ranch. I hate to miss the 50 and 60 and degree weather, perfect for rounding up cattle and maybe, if it’s the morning, digging out my neckerchief.

I hate to miss how the horses seem to lay a little longer in the sunshine, breathe out breath we can see into the crisp early air and work on growing their wooly, winter coats. I hate to miss the days the leaves on the oak trees start turning from green to yellow to orange one by one or the crunch of the leaves under my feet and the smell of the damp air reminding me of a childhood spent in these very same places, in this very same season-change ritual.

Oh yes, I’d hate to drive away from this toward warmer sun in the south or shut myself in between safe and heated walls and miss all of the miraculous and well planned preparation going on around me. Because I fear that if I didn’t pay attention to the shifts occurring on the top of the buttes, under prairie grasses and ย animal skin, I wouldn’t understand what was happening to me….

…why my skin has faded in color and is begging me to put on long, wooly sleeves, why I want to warm up soup and sink in next to husband on our big chair and talk about plans and life and how I adore him. Without taking notice of the cool breeze, settling plants, and a sun that sinks below the horizon at an earlier hour each evening, I may not understand why my eyes feel heavy, my body weary and my bed calls my name at an hour when I may have still been on a back of a horse miles out in a pasture just months before in a season we called summer.

I might not understand why I don’t allow myself to go down easy, why I hustle around the house at 8 pm putting the finishing touches on projects and work, strumming my guitar and singing songs into the darkening sky, making sure all living creatures in the household know that I have things to do yet, I’m still here, regardless of the light. I would find myself crazy and alone in a world that was trying to get some sleep already if I didn’t witness the sky putting up the exact same fight during this time of year…

See, she’s not quite ready either–not ready to turn in her party dress. Because this time of year, more than ever, in the evening hour, right before dark I catch her showing off her biggest, most fluffy clouds with splashes of fuchsia and deep orange costumes as together they threaten a heavy fall shower with big, splashing raindrops when all the world thought the next thing to come was the dark and the snow.

I see her, I know what she’s doing, I understand the need to make a scene like this and I hear her laugh as she watches the crazy woman with the camera gaze at her face and dream about climbing those very clouds and laying down there for the winter, held softly in the warm fluff of the sky, eyes closed tight, knees to chest like a child, sleeping soundly through the winter until she lets me down with the rain in the spring.

But it can’t be so. I must stay here on the crust of the earth and watch her performance as she turns down the lights and paints the world soft pink, how she keeps the rain in the sky for a few moments, under small and un-daunting slivers of fluff evoking a trust and wonder in the creatures below basking in the uncommon warmth of a late fall evening.

Yes, I must wait here and watch as the sky pushes her sun further down the horizon line, lighting up the farmstead one last moment before she lets loose those big drops of rain, slowly at first, onto the crazy woman’s head.

Because the sky thought the woman needed one last reminder of a warmer world.

And she was right, the sky, she was. The crazy woman who could see the barnyard, a small dark dot on that very horizon, quite enjoyed the way the drops stuck in her fuzzy hair…

the way her feet helped float her body down the butte toward the light glowing from the kitchen of the farm house….

she laughed at the sound of her big brown dog’s paws hitting the dirt, his mouth blowing out air, his tongue hanging and bouncing along his clumsy body as he found his rhythm alongside a woman who was running now…

Running in the autumn rain, under a sky who is wrapping up her show, a season, with a reminder of the scent and feel and colors and sound of summer…

One last rain.

In autumn.

So I slowed my pace because a little rain never hurt anyone…

and me and the sky, we were not going down easy.

217 thoughts on “October Rain

  1. You should send your cloud pictures to Tom Skilling, Channel 9 News, Chicago and he will put them on the air. Try WGN (station name). He’s our favorite weather guy and he loves pics of clouds.

  2. Not so sure I’d show the “Easterners” how darn nice it is out here. There might be a traffic jam from all the people wanting to experience the beauty…Rich

  3. Stunning pics. Really like the rider in the grass. And, of course, your message always adds to the beautiful ambience. Wonderful post.

  4. Beautiful writing, and absolutely spectacular pix!

    There is something so magical about photos of clouds — just seems easy to get lost in those, doesn’t it?

    Thank you for sharing,


    • Yes I felt like I just had to get closer when I came into the yard that day, so I scrambled for my boots and run up to the top of our hill in the horse pasture to make sure I didn’t miss the sunset before it was gone over to the other side of the world. Some days are just real gifts…

  5. Wow, all your pictures are beautiful, but I’d have to say that the cloud ones are my favorites. Your writing just completes the beauty of this post. Thanks for sharing and congrats on being freshly pressed!

  6. Stunning prose and pictures. I never rode a horse- I wish I had! I was out today capturing Autumn in a Yorkshire village, but not with your flair. I can echo some of the feelings though. Skies are endlessly fascinating. Sunrise is my time.
    Thank you for this

  7. Simply an amazing post. There is something so special about autumn, and sunsets and rain. You wrapped them all neatly together, and your pictures are stunning! Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. Stunning photographs. I too love it when the horses breath out and you can actually see it. It is nice to know someone else notices the same things. Great blogging. Thank you so much for sharing your photos. Angelique

  9. So beautiful…! I am missing my countryside so much now… I never see scenery like this in downtown Toronto anymore. There isn’t the same feel of autumn that I’ve loved for eighteen years, and not a star to wish on either.

  10. Where were these photos taken? I particularly love the one with the yellowish field and yellowy/ blue cloudy sky- beautiful.

  11. You made me smile and weep in the same post, thank you.
    Beautiful clouds! I never see this beauty in the city. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  12. Just as everyone said, beautiful photography and beautiful writing.
    I hope you don’t mind, but I’m saving this onto my computer. It touched me somehow . And just like I’m jealous of Steve Jobs and Julie Andrews and other visionaries/bigshots, I’m jealous of you for writing this post. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Love Your Photos and Blog, beautiful, amazing, how do I follow this ? Someone please Help, this is all new to me. Thanks for sharing your amazing photos !!!

    • Hi lilbit, thanks so much for your kind words. You can receive email notifications when I update this blog by clicking on the “sign me up” button under the “Email Subscriptions” heading in the upper right corner of my page. I hop you come back and visit us here at the ranch!

  14. Another wonderful blog Jessie..as a child out on the farm, enjoyed watching the clouds. Something about clouds that could be soothing unless a storm was about to come. Now even w/ storms I love clouds. Kudos. Happy weekend. Nicole

  15. So beautiful.
    I always try and leave intelligent comments when I comment on a Freshly Pressed post, because there are so many others and I want to stand out. But. I don’t have anything else to say….

  16. Great photos, you’ve done a great job at capturing the most golden of seasons! I never noticed fall before, I always dismissed it as a prelude to winter. This year though, I am seeing things for the first time. Funny isn’t it? ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Your writing is stunning, I felt like I was with you running in the rain with your dog, shocked beneath those bristling bustles of pink. Your pink clouds made me think of Mama Rose in Gypsy, finally taking the stage for her long awaited turn. You are a poet.

  18. The pictures are wonderful and very visual. I love your explanations and the coming rain seems to be something treasured. I have never visited your blog, but now that it is on Freshly Pressed, I went right to it out of curiosity.

  19. I love country living and viewing this blog makes me droll! hehe ๐Ÿ™‚ FAB post! The picturesque photos are inviting! I love clouds and these are really awesome! Keep inspiring! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Congrats for being Freshly Pressed! ๐Ÿ™‚


  20. Wonderful evocative writing even without those fantastic cloud and landscape photos – we’ve had a golden October here in Switzerland, and have incredible scenery, but I have rarely seen anything as beautiful as your photos. Thanks for sharing!

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  22. If I saw a painting of those scenes I’d think, “No Way” could they be a real scene. What an imagination the artist has!

    But you and your camera proved this easterner wrong; the magnificent scenes, colors and forms are real. I have one word to some up my thoughts.



  23. Loved your words and pictures.
    You are so lucky to live way out, away from a lot of the hassles, I am as well only my prairie is the sea and the seasons can change really quickly.

    Im on vacation at this time in Australia and Today being Halloween I saw some classic people at the Melbourne Zombie Shuffle Australia.

    it was off the hook check it out.

    Kudos to you, well done keep playing that guitar.

  24. Incredible and amazing photos of natural beauty.
    I saw North Dakota mentioned in your topic list – is that your location?
    I grew up in rural, northwest Iowa, and your photos evoke many memories of the glory of seasons changing. Thank you for your blog – and congrats. on being Fresh-Pressed.

  25. The photos are amazing, and the sky too. They landscapes are beautiful. I love it! One of my hobbies is the photography, I like to learn!

  26. Can I take you up on that offer for a hike and cocktail?! Beautiful pictures, what a serene place to live in! I could just imagine the amazing adventures you must have on that ranch! The colors of the sky are so amazing as well, what a gorgeous shade of orange!

    If it is okay with you, I would like to mention my own blog that I just started and share the link with your readers. Itโ€™s called Logic Meets Reason and it would be great if you and your readers could comment, subscribe, and take a look at the pieces I have posted! Here is the link: http://www.logicmeetsreason.wordpress.com.

  27. I love clouds, when I was little I thought that someone went up in the shy with a paintbrush and painted them. Even today, sometimes clouds look more like a piece of art instead of a large number droplets of water and ice crystals.
    I hope you don’t mind but I would like to take a moment to talk about my blog. My blog focuses on literary criticism and what people think about topics concerning English. I hope to promote friendly debate on my blog and will post topics that will allow for discussion to occur. The pictures are wonderful thanks for sharing!

  28. Stunning skies and gorgeous colours. Really enjoying looking through this post and found the images very inspirational. Lucky you to have witnessed all that natural art and drama.
    Miriam from themessynest

  29. Hi there! I’m in awe, such wonderful images… I am obsessed with my camera too, and I’m wondering what you’re using? How do you get your shots of the moon, for example, or the ones of the sky where the rain is coming down in the far-off distance? What settings are you using?

    I have lived on the Palouse, in Washington state; it often looks like your pictures… such beautiful skies… !

    • Thanks Alison. I am using a Cannon Rebel T2i. Mostly I use the ‘no flash” setting in the outdoors to make sure that I am capturing the view as it exists exactly, but my ticket is to give myself the time to shoot the same scene several times with different settings to get the look I like. The clouds and moon photos were taken with a telephoto lens, so I am able to get up a bit closer to the details. Thank again for stopping in! My sister lived in Washington State for years…it is lovely indeed!

  30. Thank you so much for your response… my thought is that you could offer photography classes on your ranch… there are many people who would benefit from learning what you know. Good luck, and now I must invest in an SLR and get seriouser about this. ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. This is gorgeous photography. Blogs like yours have been inspiring me to take more pictures. Photography is such an art. I especially like the sky at sunset and dawn. You really captured this beauty.
    Thank you.
    Read my blog…

  32. These photographs are standing a poetry of October rain… So beautiful. You captured them so nicely. I loved so much. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. I am so glad to meet with your beautiful blog. Thank you, with my love, nia

  33. These photographs are standing like a poetry of October Rain… So beautiful. You captured them so nicely. Congratulations on being Freshly Press! I am so glad to meet with you and your blog, Thank you, with my love, nia

  34. Wow, this is gorgeous. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love it when summer fades into autumn like that. I’m a little jealous, actually, because we didn’t really get that here this year: one day it was still t-shirt weather and the next the temperature had dropped 15 degrees and it was all gray and rainy for a week. Bleh.

  35. I just stumbled upon your blog, because I was immediately drawn in by the photo of the barn under “October Rain.” Wow! What a great site you have, and I’m breathless over the photography. Some of the pictures reminded me of the home we left a year ago in Arizona, in the high desert of the Gila Valley. Plenty of ranches up there. Gorgeous sunsets, too. Now that I’ve visited, I’ll be back to your blog as often as I can. I’m very busy with writing for NaNoWriMo right now. If you want to follow me on that, go to my blog at :elizabethhauser.wordpress.com Would love to have you visit!

  36. You know, I always feel this intense need to travel and to move about and to see beautiful places like this. But it’s people like you who take these phenomenal photos that allow me to close my eyes and drift off to another place, without leaving my home. You have satisfied my travel bug for a little while but a place like this is definitely somewhere I would love to visit. Thank you for sharing this with the world ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. Not that it hasn’t been said enough, but beautiful writing. I got spiraled into all those tactile, delicious descriptions. I’ve never been on a ranch, but now I feel like I miss it too.

  38. When you were describing the way you were getting ready to the colder days I felt for a second that not only were you a part of that nature but also something more than just a human.

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