Sunday, September 16, 2012

Savoring change

There's a change in the air. I feel it on my skin in the mornings, just a cool, light slap up the side of my head and a shiver and tingle on my arms. I see it in the fields that are taking on dull hues of brown and yellow, spotted here and there with lavender aster, and the fields are less full, a sense of space seeping in, a defoliation, a subtle vanishing, oh yes!, dear fields, you are losing your hair, going bald, getting old.

The field.
I hear it at dawn, scraping frost from the windshield. The scritch, the scratch, the cold futility. And I hear it in my voice as I curse the frost and curse the futility and blast the defroster and mumble into my collar. Later in the day I will stretch and purr as I feel the warmth of the sun on my back.

I hear it in the geese honking  hello and farewell and get out of my way as they pass overhead.

I see it in shiny apples nestled in bushel baskets, and I see it in mottled apples dripping from trees. And the roadside trees and the forest trees and the backyard trees are all like the fields, finding new colors, the brave - or the dieing - being the first to display leaves of such gaudy reds, such garish oranges. Soon all the leaves catch up, thinking it great fun, I suppose, to splash and play before waving goodbye and realizing too late, oops, oh no, I'm falling, and I can't get up.

Roadside apples.
The change is there in the brittleness of the wildflowers, and I smell it, too, but this I can't describe. The smell of autumn you know, and you could say: cinnamon and apple and pumpkin pie; you could say crisp, dry leaves; you could say damp pine and football games and brisk, fresh air. But, it isn't autumn I smell. Not quite yet. It is change. At once enticing and melancholy. At once something you don't yet know and something you remember all too well. It's anticipation. A promise of something new that comes with the comfort of old shoes.

The other day, though, stacking wood, I did catch a whiff of autumn. It swirled up from the wood pile and caught me off guard. It is, after all, still summer, late summer, and the forecast of cool rain just promising drops of ink on paper. For now, summer holds on, despite the frost on the windshield. And every dry summer day becomes a day of preparation for ... winter: It is not good to stack wood in the rain, nor to stack wet wood, so you do it now. You mow the grass - will it be the last time? - now. You take advantage of the sun and the dryness and the warm breeze and hang laundry out on the line. And, if you have a garden, you now hurry to bring in your food.

There's a change in the air. You savor it.

{Thanks for visiting! I've been keeping a blog since 2008 - it only took me four years to get regular! Which, believe me, isn't quite the same as normal. Welcome to my life the Upper Peninsula.}

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