The yard is getting colder and colder, though it’s not cold enough, yet, to use the word winter. In fact, it’s a stretch to use the word cold.
Maybe brisk is a better word. Except, nothing feels brisk. Instead everything feels sleepy and slow. Spider webs ripple in smoke-tinged drafts, and wasps pause for photographs as if posing.
Grubs curl sluggishly when disturbed, and I have to go slow with the mower because fall’s chill has dulled the toads’ reflexes.
Jumping spiders retreat higher and higher into trees, searching for safe crevices in which to spin their thick winter nests.
It happens like this every year, and every year I succumb to a listless bout of melancholy.
Which reminds me of a poem by Kay Middleton…
O, October what have you done?
A cold front swept through the yard this week, carrying a hint of fall. My mood turned slightly melancholy as I rooted in my closet for sleeves and jeans, as flashes of orange and yellow caught my attention.
I’m certain that summer will return next week, as hot and humid as ever. But it’s green cloak is wearing thin, and it’s remaining months will be flecked with gold.
The pear tree is reluctant to release its leaves this year. Even so, hints of red and yellow are creeping in. More and more with each cold front.
By contrast, our Japanese maple seems eager for winter. About a week ago, it’s leaves flared brilliantly red. Then they turned brown and brittle at the edges. Then they fell, almost all of them within a single day.
Now rafts of maple leaves float in the irises and drift across the porch. They scratch against the door and whisk inside with every trip to the mailbox or errand at the store. They whisper that winter is near, despite the pear tree’s curious delay.
The yard seems eerily still this afternoon. Nothing stirs, other than the occasional flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers foraging in the wax myrtle.
They chirp softly to each other as they feed, and their muffled voices make me feel as if I should speak in a whisper.
It’s a perfect afternoon to crawl under a warm blanket, call the cats to join me, and lose myself in a new book.
The autumn leaves were beautiful today, but it’s hard to focus on trees when there are rockets and a Space Shuttle in the background.
During my college years at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, I grew accustomed to a landscape that included space vehicles. Today, standing at the foot of the original Saturn V lunar rocket, I experienced a wave of renewed awe.
(Photos taken at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.)