The morning sun peeks through the canopy of leaves that have begun to fall, as autumn approaches.

The morning sun peeks through the canopy of leaves that have begun to fall, as autumn approaches.

Out my window, dew is dropping from the eaves. It is a glorious September day and Big Sugar moves quickly, the reflection on the surface smooth as glass: clean, clear water as I can still view the rocks on the bottom of the creek. There is a dead limb on an elm tree — "oh, have it pruned," she would say, "it is unattractive and mars the landscape." I like the old limb. It kind of reminds me of me.

It no longer provides nourishment for the leaves. It does, however, provide a perch for the cardinal and the squirrels as they look, curious, in my window. It catches the rain and the snow and spiders build their webs stretching from it to other limbs. It doesn't have young green leaves like the other limbs but it has a beauty of its own, from white to gray to dark brown and it isn't very flexible.

I try to not be inflexible but I find certain truths are hard to lay aside. I believe in truth and try to practice it. I believe in virtue and loyalty and cleanliness in body and spirit and vocabulary and I believe in patriotism, supporting our government leaders. I believe in one creator and that this world was about 6,000 years old when Christ was born. I believe that Christ, son of Mary and God, is the Messiah who came to change the world and teach us how to live.

Therefore, like the limb, I am somewhat inflexible. The old dead limb out my window is battered by high winds and yet it endures.

Parlette says in "The University of Hard Knocks," "Now as we learn the lessons of the Needless and the Needful Knocks, we get wisdom, understanding, happiness, strength, success and greatness. We go up in life. We become educated."

I hope that I am still being educated. Most of my hard knocks are related to those whom I love. When dear ones reap the rewards of bad choices, hasty decisions and consequently scrape and injure their knees, their elbows and their hearts, I hurt for them and hope to be a refuge where they can find solace. Nature will deal with the old limb and there will be a day when it lets go, when it is parted from the old tree that once gave it life and it will fall to the ground and land below the bluffs at the bottom of the creek and when it does, it will still be a part of the big picture. Until then, like the squirrel, and the red cardinal that sings from its branches, it will serve a purpose and prevail. Would that I may do the same.

Drop by the McDonald County Historical Museum on the square in Pineville. You may write to P.O. Box 572, Pineville, 64856 or go to

Alberta Anders writes a weekly column for the Daily News.