“Suddenly, a switch is thrown. The lovechild of Summer and Autumn appears, playing truant for a day.”–Cynthia Reyes
The garden lies spent from its labours.
My labour is not quite done. In the vegetable patch, a few late tomatoes are red to bursting. The last beets show dull-burgundy colours in the earth. The apple trees are heavy with fruit, lower branches bending to the grass below.
Along the fence, the wild cucumber vine withers, having borne its last.
All herald the completion of one thing, the advent of another. Summer has gone, and with her, the days filled with light, warmth and lightness of being.
Summer passed through my garden, touching everything, disturbing nothing. Except by warming and illuminating, making each thing, each person, each day, a little brighter.
A little stronger. More open to life.
And then Summer moved on again. And when she left, it was as if someone had dimmed the light. The garden seemed faded, drained — not just of light, but life.
Fall is here. Winter waits in the wings.
Suddenly, a switch is thrown. The lovechild of Summer and Autumn appears, playing truant for a day. The weather turns mild. The sun shines brightly on this autumn day, warming my face and bare arms.
One glorious golden remnant of Summer – in Autumn. This warm day brings remembrance and promise. A remembrance of what we’ve lost. A promise of what will return.
It’s a radiant reprieve from the 6-month sentence called “cold weather”, spent in the embrace of the ice queen.
Tempus fugit, says my Calvinist conscience. There’s much to do at this time of year.
But I ignore the niggling voice, command it to be silent.
Today there will be no counting of tasks waiting for attention.
The canning, the freezing, the baking, the sweeping up of leaves – all can wait.
Today is a day to sit still. To see and smell and hear and notice.
There’s a slight breeze, a whisper as the wind ruffles the leaves on tall trees.
There’s the sound of bees, humming among the last of the late-season flowers.
The delicate rounds of Queen Anne’s Lace sway to their own music, the last blooms of Summer dancing into their Autumn.
Large circles of black-eyed Susans and gloriosas, resigned to their own demise, suddenly appear to lift up their heads. For just a moment, they look like dollops of sunshine thrown down to earth by angels playing ‘sunball’.
From somewhere comes the smell of tomatoes being turned into sauce.
“I will arise and go now” — but not just yet, Mr. Yeats.
I can see what’s waiting for me, and it can wait a day.
This unexpectedly glorious day, today, is a day to dawdle, to puddle one’s resources into piddling, and observing.
This gently warm Autumn day provides a chance to honour the season past, the season present and the seasons to come.
Fall is here.
Winter waits in the wings.
Yesterday was a day for making herb oils.
Tomorrow will be a day for making jelly.
And the day after, apples sliced for making pies.
The rich smell of apples cooking on the stove, baking in the oven.
Though I loved Summer, Autumn brings her own special gifts.
Cynthia Reyes is the author of several bestselling books, including A Good Home, An Honest House, Twigs in My Hair, and the wonderful Myrtle the Purple Turtle series for children.