03 September 2012

Last of the Summer Wine

Yesterday was the most perfect 'end-of-summer' day. Beautiful cool breezes, blue skies, and a bright sun overhead. The kind of sun that feels warm but not oppressive. I sat on the verandah at mid-day, losing myself entirely in the pages of a novel, looking up now and then to gaze out to the garden or into the greenery overhead, before turning back to the landscape that awaited me in my book.

It's easy to tell that Fall is barely a month away. The nights have been growing cooler, little by little, and I have to wear a sweater or shawl now if I sit on the verandah after dark. The crickets still sing, in fact I think they're louder than ever, but there's a feeling in the air, an expectancy of something drawing to a close. But I can't bring myself to shut the windows yet. I love to feel chilly that way in the evening. Even if it means grabbing another shawl or running upstairs for a pair of socks. It's such a blessed relief from those few nights (and there were only a few, thank goodness) where I could barely lift my hand without feeling as if I was swimming in a humid pool of damp air. But this is wonderful, and I'll keep the house open this way for as long as possible. The time to be holed up inside, barricaded behind shutters by the fire against winter's cold, will come soon enough. Best to enjoy this freshness in the house now while I can.

A mocking bird family hatched near the Hemlock tree again this year. The babies are so dear when they start to fly, practicing their aerobatics by fluttering clumsily from one branch to another, and sometimes throwing caution to the wind and making it as far as the trellis over the front walk. Although Mockingbirds are supposed to be shy, the fledglings always come quite near whenever I'm outside, with curious cocked heads. (Perhaps they see me in the garden often enough to have mistaken me as part of the landscape!) One of them has been coming each morning and sitting by the pergola at the front of the house, calling in through the screen. And I think he must have been perched on the doorknob one day, because when I turned it to go outside and put the flag out, there was a great flapping of new feathers (mostly fluff) and between the two of us I'm not sure which was the more startled! (I felt a little like "Aunt Pitty-Pat" with all my flustered arm-waving.)

Soon the garden will turn that beautiful russet color, and all the leaves will lie along the ground, their jewel tones like a Persian carpet at my feet. The rose bushes are already laden with enormous pips and the Bittersweet is pushing its tendrils through every nook and cranny it can find, weighing the trellises down with berries that will peel back their yellow hulls and explode into bursts of orange. The black "dolls eyes" berries on the Pokeberry are hanging full from every stalk while the Mountain Ash branches swing heavily with bunches of bright berries. All of these will be left for the birds to eat throughout the winter.  

There's really no season that I don't enjoy. But these "endings" in Fall are my favorite, I think... watching as things "go by" (as my grandmother would say) and then waiting throughout the winter for them to begin again.

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