Heart of Autumn



NOAA says we have an atmospheric river over our heads, as Pacific storm systems roll in, one after another.  The dusting of snow early in the week disappeared within hours and there has yet to be a frost at the lake.  The last of my geraniums, however, was eaten in front of my eyes, as I washed dishes and watched a doe munch away  on the remaining  raspberry-red blossom.  She periodically looked in at me, completely unfazed,  bright green leaves hanging out both sides of her mouth.

The weather has been so strange in the last 48 hours.   There have been squalls of driving rain that hammer the lake-facing side of the house.  There was a vivid rainbow.   Yesterday, I went out to the river trail, in sunshine, and took photos of crisp golden leaves and flaming red ones, which floated on smokey blue turquoise water.  I’ve watched the full Hunter Moon slide out between the clouds in the night and make the grass as white as snow.  And, at eventide, with a pause in the wind and weather, and soup simmering inside on the stove, we sat at water’s edge by a little campfire.  The lake was calm and except for the chortling of waterfowl out on the water, and the occasional distant chain saw, there was such quiet, a hush, after all these squalls.   I watched an otter swim north, along our shoreline–a very rare sighting;  biologists have said they can’t survive in a big lake.  I suspect she became disoriented in the storms and swam the wrong way in the river, and ended up, alone, in this enormous lake.  In the calm, she moved fast, headed for home before dark, before Winter, which gets ever closer, here in the heart of Autumn.

The hush comes with the deepening of Autumn; but it comes gradually. Our ears are attuned to it, day by quieter day. But even now, if one awakens in the deep darkness of the small hours, one can hear it, a foretaste of Winter silence. It’s a little painful now, and a little lonely because it is so strange. ~Hal Borland

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