A single burnished oak leaf floats down and comes to rest in a pot of bronze “mums” on the threshold of the little blue house in the village. Nights are cold, and the pot must be carried indoors every evening as darkness falls and the wind rises.
As the oak leaf makes itself comfortable among our potted blooms, a long v-shaped skein of geese passes overhead, heading south and calling goodbye as it moves out of sight. Above the wedge of high-flying geese and slightly to their right, the waning moon is translucent against the morning sky.
All the swallows of summer packed their bags and left last week, their places on local telephone wires taken by flights of chirruping sparrows and chatterings of ebullient starlings who are putting on winter stars and flashing their yellow beaks.
The first McIntosh apples of the year appeared at farm gates a few days ago, and several “Macs” rest flushed and rosy in a bowl on the kitchen counter. We carried a lovely big brown paper bag of apples home from a local orchard yesterday. Some are destined for eating of course, but later today there will be applesauce and pies, perhaps a few jars of cinnamon scented apple butter too.
No doubt about it—Lady Autumn is standing outside our gate, and she is rattling the rusty latch vigorously. The lady knows the magic words that will grant her entrance, and she knows the tune that goes with them.