Green Thumb Sunday–Color Me Thankful

Our Lake

My friend, Debbie B., asked me a question on Friday, and I’ve thought about it ever since. She and her son wondered why fall colors echo the colors of Thanksgiving. Why does this holiday which is all about gratitude follow the same pattern as its surrounding clime? Why the beauty–the yellow of the Cottonwood leaves, the red of the Sumac, the oaks’ burnt orange umber?

Dead Redbud and Sumac

At first, being my ever-practical self, my answer was that we took nature’s cue and clothed our holidays likewise. This makes sense, when we consider Thanksgiving where we celebrate our gratitude for an abundant harvest with a feast of color. Think of the candied orange sweet potatoes, the golden brown of turkey skin, the paler orange squash of pumpkin pie, pecan pie’s crunchy caramel, united by the green of pole beans (unless they are swimming in a creamy casserole and topped with Durkee onions.) At Christmas, the predominant red and green are the same colors as the evergreen plants representing life at that darkest time of the year: hollies with their red berries, pines and cedars.

But why would nature, at the very time we need to harvest food in anticipation of winter, go out in a blaze of glory? It could just as easily wind down like a timepiece, fading slowly from gray to black. After much discussion, Deb and I decided autumn is a gift straight from God, and this being Green Thumb Sunday, well . . . .

I am reminded of a children’s book written by Cynthia Rylant titled The Dreamer. It is no longer in print, but can be found used on Amazon. The DreamerIt is the creation story from Genesis, and God is represented as an artist so filled with energy that He must create. There are pages of flourish and color and so begins the world.

In a small way, we gardeners do the same thing. Whether we’re planting for food or for pleasure, we plan our spaces inserting just the right colors here and there. Beautiful blues to cool the hottest day. Yellows and white to buffer clashing colors. When I first started working with roses and perennials, I only thought of the blossoms in pinks, reds and yellows. It was later that I began to realize how important green is as a unifier. Much of the garden remains in green, and it is this color that gives the eye rest.

We’ve had a few weeks of lovely foliage and fabulous weather, but we’re told that Thanksgiving will be cold as a front is headed our way. I know that some of us find this time of year depressing because it is the end of the gardening season, and winter looms ahead, but I like to think of it as a time of rest for us and our plants to build up energy for next year. That way, we can plan our future gardens, the ones we always carry in our minds and hearts.

Oklahoma, It’s Our Birthday!!!

Oklahoma Centennial FlagWe’re 100 years old, and today, we’re celebrating all over the state with parades, fairs, craft shows and more. Because my little town of Guthrie was the first state capitol, where the gunshot sounded signifying statehood, we got to throw the biggest party of all.

The official Guthrie Centennial Website stated that Guthrie would “host historical re-enactments of the statehood proclamation, the swearing-in of Oklahoma’s First Governor, Charles Haskell, and the symbolic wedding of Oklahoma Territory with Indian Territory.” The re-enactments were held at the historic Carnegie Library where they happened in 1907.

I hate to gush, but I am so proud that Guthrie still has the Carnegie Library. oklahoma-centennial-047.jpgIt’s been surpassed by a more modern building, but the edifice of the old is beautiful. In fact, if you’re ever able to come visit, please stop by and see all of the old buildings we didn’t demolish. During the 50s and 60s, we simply covered them with aluminum siding for modernization and, I like to think, protection. In the 80s, we finally tore off that trailer siding, and found beautiful red brick buildings of which we could be proud.

As much fun as all of this sounded, I wasn’t going into town today. One hundred thousand people were supposed to converge upon Guthrie, and I was afraid it couldn’t handle the crowds or the traffic. Then, I was watching the early morning ceremonies on television, and I knew we had to go to the parade. It was a once in a lifetime chance, and I’m glad we took it.

The parade started at the Scottish Rite Temple, wound through downtown and ended at Mineral Wells Park where the town held a barbecue just like the one they had in 1907. It began at noon, and we got there just in time. There were marching bands from several local high schools and from most state universities including Langston, Oklahoma State University, University of Central Oklahoma and my personal favorite, the P-r-i-d-e of Oklahoma from OU. (Sorry, I graduated from the Journalism School. I can’t help it.) The Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band

We saw lots of horses, buggies, Model T Fords, tractors, and re-enactors. It was fun, and with highs in the 70s, we had perfect, if windy, weather. My only giggle, and it is a small one, was that nearly every band played the song “Oklahoma!” from the play of the same name. It is our official state song, but after the six or seventh time, I had to smile.

I don’t know how many people attended the celebration, but my fears about parking were unfounded. There were parking lots a mile or two away from the festivities, and school buses carried everyone to and from the downtown area. I didn’t hear a soul complain. Congratulations Guthrie, you did a great job. I look forward to the Territorial Christmas next month, and until then . . . You are doin’ fine Oklahoma. Happy Birthday.