Monday, August 07, 2006

Signs of the Season

Yesterday in Lanark, the harvest was in full swing, and the air was filled with the rumble of combine harvesters and exhaust from the diesel engines. Almost overnight, the countryside has acquired the whiskery colours it usually wears in August, dusty grey and green and gold. The first flocks of Canada Geese have already made an appearance in the stubble fields, the Monarch butterflies are slowly drifting away, the Staghorn Sumac is wearing red again, the Goldenrod is in full bloom, and the hills are full of silky grasshoppers fluttering from clover leaf to clover leaf. The music of their wings as they go is a dry rustle, as if they were all attired in taffeta skirts.

Lat night I walked through the barley fields for hours in my dreams, and my splendid companions were the flocks of starlings who have already acquired their yellow beaks and their winter stars. When I awakened this morning before sunrise, the ghosts of barley fragrance and fresh turned earth lingered in my nostrils from the night's wandering, and there was a feeling of autumn in these old bones.

The first Monday in August is a bank holiday here in the north, and this morning we are on our way back to Lanark. Coming home this evening, I shall stop at my friend Caroline's farm gate for some of her lovely organic produce, tiny new red potatoes, onions, summer squash, beets and corn. August is a time of earthy abundance, and it carries within itself the firm promise of fine fresh eating, cooler sunny days, long walks and skies full of stars at night.

1 comment:

Jennifer S. said...

August is a very good month!