It's small things that engage our attention at this time of year, fallen leaves like confetti on the old wooden dock at the lake, woodland maples arrayed in red and gold, tall sunflowers inclining their heads and dropping thousands of seed children, damp furrows where a garden once bloomed and fruited, bronzey oak leaves on the trail touched by cold and crackling wonderfully underfoot in their earthy sepias and rosy creams, the way flickering sunlight bends and flows across our path on walks in the woods.
Lines of swallows congregate and chatter on telephone lines before migrating. Skeins of geese pass high overhead, and there are the steady wing beats and plaintive calls of loons saying goodbye and heading for warmer moorings. Great herons still haunt local waterways, but they will not be far behind the loons in departing. Beech trees in our woods are turning, and their copper leaves fall in burnished showers. Is it just me, or is there a restless melancholy spirit loose in the village and haunting the countryside in late September?
Far from last month's thoughts of salads and cold drinks, I find myself pondering soups and stews, corn fritters and gingerbread, the first McIntosh apples lovingly folded into a baked crumble with oatmeal, maple syrup and cinnamon. Thoughts of comfort food are a sure indication of autumn, all by themselves.
Life becomes quieter as daylight hours wane in the last quarter of the calendar year. Temperatures tumble, migratory kin leave, and we drink every blessed thing in like wine. Gloves on our gnarly paws, and collars turned up against the wind, we ramble and ponder and feast our senses on the colors, sounds and spicy fragrances of autumn. Then we come home to tea and toast and ginger cookies at nightfall. It's all good.