Friday, August 30, 2019

Friday Ramble - Little Ordinaries of the Season

It's small things that engage one's attention at this time of year: fallen leaves like confetti on the old wooden dock at the lake, woodland maples clothing themselves in scarlet, sunflowers inclining their heads and sending thousands of seed children out into the world, damp furrows where once a garden bloomed and fruited.

Oak leaves on the trail have been touched by cold fingers overnight, and they crackle wonderfully underfoot in their earthy sepias and rosy creams. The beech trees in our woods are turning, and their coppery leaves fall in burnished, windblown showers. Autumn sun streams through the flickering overstory as if through clerestory windows, and the forest feels like a cathedral that goes on and on forever. Little seasonal ordinaries conjure a litany that is spicy on the tongue, touched with a leaf-dusty fragrance that follows us all the way home.

Lines of swallows congregate on rural telephone lines before flying south. Skeins of geese move to and fro between rivers and farm fields, and there are the steady wing beats and plaintive calls of loons saying goodbye as they head for warmer moorings. Great herons still haunt local waters here and there, but they will not be far behind the loons in departing.  Is it just me, or is there a restless melancholy spirit loose in the village and haunting the countryside?

It is a little cooler here this morning, and far from recent 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 about comfort food and culinary undertakings are a sure indication of autumn, all by themselves.

Life becomes quieter as daylight hours wane in the last months of the calendar year. Temperatures tumble, migratory kin leave, and light changes - we drink every blessed thing in like wine. Gloves on gnarly paws, and collars turned up against the wind, we will ramble and ponder and feast our senses on the colors, sounds and spicy fragrances of autumn.  Then we will come home to tea and toast and molasses cookies at nightfall. It's all good.