Monday, September 21, 2015

In season

The day after tomorrow is the Autumnal Equinox, the beginning of astronomical Autumn. The flavors of the season are apple or pumpkin spice, right? We've noticed more and more spiders trying to move into the house for the Winter. I saw the first of the field corn being harvested over the weekend. Those fields of ripe pumpkins that haven't been will soon be harvested, on their way to becoming Jack-o-Lanterns and pie. This year's turkey poults are almost fully grown.

pumpkins in the field
pumpkins in the field
Photo by J. Harrington

Yesterday, my Better Half mentioned that she had watched a wooly bear wander across the screen. Soon it will be time to check their bands and see what they say about our upcoming Winter, but there will be time enough to do that after we've enjoyed more days like today, full of early Autumn's delights. As far as I'm concerned, we haven't even reached hot chocolate season yet.

Banded Woolly Bear (Pyrrharctia isabella)
Banded Woolly Bear (Pyrrharctia isabella)
Photo by J. Harrington

Fall


Fall, falling, fallen. That's the way the season
Changes its tense in the long-haired maples
That dot the road; the veiny hand-shaped leaves
Redden on their branches (in a fiery competition
With the final remaining cardinals) and then
Begin to sidle and float through the air, at last
Settling into colorful layers carpeting the ground.
At twilight the light, too, is layered in the trees
In a season of odd, dusky congruences—a scarlet tanager
And the odor of burning leaves, a golden retriever
Loping down the center of a wide street and the sun
Setting behind smoke-filled trees in the distance,
A gap opening up in the treetops and a bruised cloud
Blamelessly filling the space with purples. Everything
Changes and moves in the split second between summer's
Sprawling past and winter's hard revision, one moment
Pulling out of the station according to schedule,
Another moment arriving on the next platform. It
Happens almost like clockwork: the leaves drift away
From their branches and gather slowly at our feet,
Sliding over our ankles, and the season begins moving
Around us even as its colorful weather moves us,
Even as it pulls us into its dusty, twilit pockets.
And every year there is a brief, startling moment
When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and
Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless
Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air:
It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies;
It is the changing light of fall falling on us.  


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