After an unseasonably warm stretch, temperatures fell overnight, bringing a cool quiet rain. This morning the grass is wet on the toes; the broad-leafed hosta plants cup shimmering droplets in their green palms.
Further down our street the leaves on the towering maples have begun to turn red and gold; soon the canopies will clear as their summer garments are shed. All along the far edge of our driveway burningbushes (Euonymus atropurpureus) are beginning to light their crimson fires. At the edge of the wood the sumac’s scarlet spears stand erect against a backdrop of brown branches.
A catbird darts into our front porch and perches momentarily on the balustrade. I pause in the rocking chair with my coffee cup halfway to my lips and watch him cock his head to size me up before he scuttles around the corner out of sight.
In the great ash tree across the street, a choir of crows assembles aloft on a bare branch. They squawk a raspy chorus as the sun breaks over the far hills. The morning light pierces clusters of yellow-orange leaves high in the canopy like stained glass vitraux in medieval cathedrals. Morning has broken.
Rich orange Chinese lantern seed pods dapple the garden beds. Rusty brown stalks of withered flowers stand motionless in the morning light. Here Nature is changing her palette from green to more subtle earthen colors.
The hayfields have been mowed; the apples are red, ripe and ready for picking. We have entered the season of harvest. In another month the farmers will rest from their labors. For now there is much work to be done: a gathering in of earth’s bounty suitable for autumnal plates and palates.