Wednesday, September 16, 2015

September's signs

For the past day or so, the breeze around here has been out of the south or southwest, blowing across our field of tumblegrass. When I was playing with a couple of the dogs in the run earlier today, I noticed the results of that combination. Lots and lots of purple lovegrass seedheads are piled up about three feet deep in a fence corner next to the run and the compost heaps. Every once in awhile, the breeze would swirl around from the northeast and the seedheads would creep over the bottom of the old canoe. I haven't seen anything that looks as creepy since I stopped watching Twilight Zone.

tumblegrass seed heads piled up
tumblegrass seed heads piled up
Photo by J. Harrington

Once the dogs were attended to, I decided to go exploring. The Better Half wants to try some "sumac tea," and I had read that we were past peak season for collecting the seed clusters, not to speak write of not knowing where to find any seed clusters to collect. I also needed to stop at the post office to drop off a package. While driving the back roads, I confirmed that at least one of the local trumpeter swans is still around. I noticed a few sumac berry clusters that were out of my reach on 10 or 12 foot tall stems. Further on I found several thickets that had no berries whatsoever except for a few remaining and much abused partial clusters. I don't know if other foragers beat me to them or they just had a bad year. While staring at a missed opportunity, I was strafed by a sole monarch butterfly, the first I've seen in quite awhile. It headed south while I got back behind the wheel and drove first north and then east. I finally saw what looked like some decent berries and parked to "reduce to possession" eight or nine clusters. Then it was time to get some pictures of the Sunrise River as it heads into the North Pool. I've been meaning to do that for more than a month now and today I was doing the best I can to enjoy and preserve this weather so I can at least bring out the photos next February and remember the good times that will come again with the turning of the seasons.

Sunrise River at County Road 19
Sunrise River at County Road 19
Photo by J. Harrington

looking North from the road
looking North from the road
Photo by J. Harrington

Note to self: the fact that we live in a very beautiful part of the world is not very beneficial if we just sit inside on our duff and look out at the same scenery every day. You know, the old "if nature's beauty is on display and no one is there to see it..." routine.

To the Light of September

By W. S. Merwin 
When you are already here
you appear to be only
a name that tells of you
whether you are present or not

and for now it seems as though
you are still summer
still the high familiar
endless summer
yet with a glint
of bronze in the chill mornings
and the late yellow petals
of the mullein fluttering
on the stalks that lean
over their broken
shadows across the cracked ground

but they all know
that you have come
the seed heads of the sage
the whispering birds
with nowhere to hide you
to keep you for later

you
who fly with them

you who are neither
before nor after
you who arrive
with blue plums
that have fallen through the night

perfect in the dew


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