An Autumn Day

King Winter has sent warning of his coming! There was a delightful freshness in the air the other morning, and all over the low places lay the first frost of the season.

What a beautiful world this is! Have you noticed the wonderful coloring of the sky at sunrise? For me there is no time like the early morning, when the spirit of light broods over the earth at its awakening. What glorious colors in the woods these days! Did you ever think that great painters have spent their lives trying to reproduce on canvas what we may see every day? Thousands of dollars are paid for their pictures which are not so beautiful as those nature gives us freely. The colors in the sky at sunset, the delicate tints of the early spring foliage, the brilliant autumn leaves, the softly colored grasses and lovely flowers — what painter ever equalled their beauties with paint and brush? I have in my living room three large windows uncovered by curtains which I call my pictures. Everchanging with the seasons, with wild birds and gay squirrels passing on and off the scene, I never have seen a landscape painting to compare with them.

As we go about our daily tasks the work will seem lighter if we enjoy these beautiful things that are just outside our doors and windows. It pays to go to the top of the hill, now and then, to see the view and to stroll thru the wood lot or pasture forgetting that we are in a hurry or that there is such a thing as a clock in the world. You are “so busy”! Oh yes I know it! We are all busy, but what are we living for anyway and why is the world so beautiful if not for us? The habits we form last us thru this life and I firmly believe into the next. Let’s not make such a habit of hurry and work that when we leave this world we will feel impelled to hurry thru the spaces of the universe using our wings for feather dusters to clean away the star dust.

The true way to live is to enjoy every moment as it passes and surely it is in the everyday things around us that the beauty of life lies.

I strolled today down a woodland path–
A crow cawed loudly and flew away.
The sky was blue and the clouds were gold
And drifted before me fold on fold;
The leaves were yellow and red and brown
And patter, patter the nuts fell down,
On this beautiful, golden autumn day.

A squirrel was storing his winter hoard,
The world was pleasant: I lingered long,
The brown quails rose with a sudden whirr
And a little bundle, of eyes and fur,
Took shape of a rabbit and leaped away.
A little chipmunk came out to play
And the autumn breeze sang a wonder song.


“An Autumn Day”, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, published in
The Missouri Ruralist, October 20, 1916

Posted in Quotations from Laura
One comment on “An Autumn Day
  1. Wayne Johnson says:

    Laura is right, stop and take the time to enjoy the multitude of wonders of nature, and realize you’ve got to go out and look, it won’t come to you. Seems like fall is over in just a few days, from beautiful multi-colored leaves falling from the trees to the arrival of Jack Frost. I wonder if Laura ever read WALDEN….