At the height of summer there was a full bounty of Roses, Phlox, Evening Primrose, Loosestrife, Impatiens, Dame's Rocket, Soapwort, Shasta Daisies, Day Lilies, Iris, and herbs. By the end of August, quite a few plants had already spent themselves, but there were still many in bloom to take up the slack. Morning Glorys climbed heavenward into the hemlock, opening their blue, pink, and purple bells to the sunlight and then curling in against themselves by afternoon. Hostas sent out the last of their purple and white spikes. Bittersweet reached out and wrapped itself around every possible support, setting lime green berries that will eventually turn bright orange. Black-Eyed Susans continued to cut a colorful swath across the garden beds with their startling Crayola gold. And the Phlox and a few hybrid Roses were still sending forth blooms.
But now, in mid-September, the crisp night air and bright sun has worked its magic on the leaves and flowers that were thriving only a week earlier, turning their petal edges a rusty brown and their leaves into brown-green curls. And the tiny crab apples have been falling like hailstones onto the garden beds each time a squirrel makes its way through the tree branches.
It's always a bit sad to see it all end, especially having spent so many icey months waiting and longing for it all to be here. It seems like only yesterday I was writing about the first spring blossoms I saw, the first scent of greenery awakening in the sleeping gardens, and the first bright sound of birdsong in the tree branches overhead heralding spring. Now the birds looked plumped up as if bracing their fragile bodies for the cold they know is imminent; the squirrels are frantically digging tiny holes throughout the garden, readying their larders for the long dearth of food that faces them; and the cricket song has been replaced by one lone sparrow who likes to chirrup in the maple each evening. (I've secretly named him Paul Revere since I'm convinced he drew the short stick and was chosen to be the harbinger of winter's coming.)
As for me, despite feeling a bit blue over this passing, I'm looking forward to the Autumn days and nights, when the debilitating heat that slowed my brain to a crawl is replaced by chilly, wood-scented air, making me feel more mentally alert and eager to accomplish things again. Soon enough I'll be setting the first fire on the grate, tackling the stacks of books that peer at me accusingly, and beginning all the Christmas knitting projects that lie in wait. And as Autumn slips away and the winter cold drapes itself over the cottage once more, I will comfort myself with garden and landscape books, dreaming about what I hope to accomplish next year.
To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.
And so it goes.