Monday, September 28, 2009

First Fires and Last Flowers


Laundry flaps on drooping lines,
leaves float in gray

rain threatens; clouds pile dark
shapes hurry in bundled coats

dry clothes from line and pin,
pile into wicker baskets;

air turns noses cherry red,
mist turns to driving

pelts on windows golden
with the warmth of

within the dry safe haven
of small country houses,

the coming frigid cold
and darkness of

c2006 Susanna Holstein

Temperatures tonight are going to be in the cool 40's, and tomorrow does not sound like the air is going to warm up much. Fires are glowing in the stove and the fireplace so the house is cozy.

Larry has been dragging in wood, almost all of it trees downed in the high winds last Spring, or trees he cut last year, so the wood is good seasoned stuff that makes for good heat. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to warm a house with green wood.

The flowers bloom valiantly on, but with these cool days they will not be with us long--except for the hardy mums that start blooming when everything else is giving up. And the pineapple sage that drops brilliant red into the garden most unexpectedly in late August-early September. A few roses hang on and one bush has buds that just might make it before frost.

It's okay with me for the summer season to end. I like the turning of the year, although as I get older the changes seem more poignant than when I was younger. Now I pay closer attention to such things.

In August I begin noting the first tinges of yellow in leaves, the ripening of seedheads on grasses and the first falling acorns.

In September I listen for the last whippoorwill call, note the earlier coming of darkness each day, and count jars in the cellar.

In October I will be watching for first the maples, then the poplars and ash and last the oaks to turn fiery red, bold yellow, deep maroon and finally all shades of russet before gray becomes the forest's uniform. First frost will finish the flowers for good and all. I will gather seeds into envelopes and write the names of the flowers and the year of harvest on them so I will not forget them.

By November the days will be very short, dark on rising and dark when I return home in the evening. I will cook more, simply because there will be time for it. I will be on the lookout for the first snowflakes, the first real freeze, and make sure the birdfeeders are full. We will harvest venison and put it by.

December will bring plans for the coming of light again. Candles will flare in the windows and spices will fragrance the air. Fires will burn brightly every day. I will note each day's additional minutes of light after solstice, and we will welcome the new year with fire, friends and festivities.

So the cycle goes, each month bringing new yet familiar rituals. There is no month I can name as my favorite; each gifts us with something worth seeing and having. And each one I celebrate because I am still here to do so, and hope to be here celebrating many more turns of the seasons.


Anonymous said...

I hope so, too.

Jai Joshi said...

I know just what you mean. The changing of the weather is so profound when you stop and watch it.


laoi gaul~williams said...

oh such a lovely post.

we have very few flowers here now and this morning as i stood in the garden it felt like the first proper chill of autumn...i love it.

Janet, said...

Very well said, Susanne.

Granny Sue said...

Fall is certainly a time for reflection, isn't it, just as winter is a time for planning ahead. I find myself thinking more philosophically these days--perhaps because most of the "practical" thinking about canning and gardening and schedules is past!

Matthew Burns said...

You write like someone who has lived!

Great job.

Granny Sue said...

Thank you, Matthew. Sometimes I wish I had a few years back to re-live so I could pay more attention!

Susan at Stony River said...

You captured autumn beautifully there. We're bringing in wood too but our flowers are long gone now. One pumpkin's out there... wonder where the rest got to? LOL

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