Friday, August 28, 2020

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 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 in the garden where the last tomatoes of the season are ripening.

Oak leaves on the trail were touched by cold fingers overnight, and they crackle wonderfully underfoot in their earthy sepias and creams. Beech trees are turning, and their coppery leaves are falling everywhere in burnished, windblown showers. Sunlight streams through the flickering overstory as if through clerestory windows, and the woods feel like a vast, towering cathedral that goes on and on forever. Little seasonal ordinaries conjure an elemental litany that is spicy on the tongue, touched with a leaf-dusty fragrance that follows us all the way home after our rambles.

Lines of swallows are congregating 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 as the season turns?

It is cool here this morning, and far from recent thoughts of salads and cold drinks, I find myself pondering soups, stews and casseroles, 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 approaching autumn, all by themselves.

Life becomes quieter as daylight hours wane in the last quarter of the year. Temperatures tumble, leaves turn, migratory kin leave, and the light changes. We will 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 around us. Then we will come home to tea and toast and candlelight as night falls.

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