Lisa Currie

By Lisa Currie

I am trying to find some brightness to the end of Daylight Savings Time because there is enough dark news in the world — just plain nastiness that’s like a prowling dark monster belching out vileness and hatred.

Fortunately, the dark monster of meanness, unlike the impending winter days, can be avoided.

Therefore, I have been focused on being optimistic — noticing the fantastic blue skies and painted autumn trees that seem to explode with color, the yellows turning red and the reds turning brown and burgundy, an evolution that appears to happen before our eyes as the autumn rushes to make itself known before the cold days of winter blow all the leaves away.

On a rather cold morning with all my summer flowers bent frozen and lifeless, I was hunting for the positive as my friend Susie and I walked home from our morning hike when I smelled it — the warmth of a fall fire. I realized as I slowed to smell: there really is nothing like that rich wooden aroma on a crisp fall morning.

Oh, good grief! Am I being grateful for the arrival of Old Man Winter. Nah…can’t be!

But that earthy smell is so much a part of these small towns along the Old Valley Pike; if you have not been to another location, you might not appreciate it, but I do enjoy that evolution from summer to fall just to welcome that familiar fragrance.

You see, I have lived in England where the pungent smell of coal fills the fall air, an odor that’s bitter to the senses. I have lived in cities where the same old petroleum scent of summer lingers into the fall and winter, a stench that seems to grow only stale and sour.

But the smell of the first wood-burning fire of the season, that smoke curling up into the clear periwinkle sky, is a small-town perfume that signifies hard work and a change in life’s opportunities; it’s found here, regardless of street corner from Congress to King.

Oh yes…autumn brings the aroma of apple cider and pumpkin pies, but the whiff of the first warming fires on a brisk fall morning warms the soul.

Oh dear! This could be a crisis: I am finding something to be thankful for when this is the season I would rather skip. But if I skip this season, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be thankful for the fire — a simple wood-burning fire.

Ummmm…maybe there is a different take away — recognizing the simplest gifts that are all around us, we can banish that belching and vile monster of meanness back to the depths where it belongs. I hate to sound like a Pollyanna, but maybe tapping into the simple pleasures, we extinguish the vile monster of meanness. What a optimistic way to illuminate the days until Daylight Savings Time moves us forward once again.

Toms Brook resident Lisa Currie is a retired professor of English as another language and an adviser at the Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown. She has worked at The Shenandoah Valley Herald and various other newspapers in Virginia.