By Dorothy Lawrenson
This far north, the harvest happens late.
Rooks go clattering over the sycamores
whose shadows yawn after them, down to the river.
Uncut wheat staggers under its own weight.
Summer is leaving too, exchanging its gold
for brass and copper. It is not so strange
to feel nostalgia for the present; already
this September evening is as old
as a photograph of itself. The light, the shadows
on the field, are sepia, as if this were
some other evening in September, some other
harvest that went ungathered years ago.
I’ve always wanted to sleep up in our guest cabin, where so many friends and family have been over the years. When I’m cleaning it after someone’s left, I like how the light rising in the east fills the room, and how the sounds of the lake are amplified somehow. Sarah and Nick were here for the Labor Day week-end, and since she is hobbled on crutches, we wanted them to stay in our master bedroom, the only room on the main floor of the house. Today, I’ve moved us back into the house, and put the guest cabin to bed for the summer. It was nice up there, incredibly quiet and dark. In the middle of one night, I saw the waning gibbous moon out the bathroom window. It illuminated the long driveway and the trees cast long shadows across it. I could even make out the shadows of cherry trees in the meadow next door. I would have liked to just sit in the chair at the window, forever, and watch what happens under the moon of early September.
The end of summer has been painfully abrupt, in my opinion. The lake has been inhospitable for days with wind and whitecaps, and the temps have been ten degrees below normal. Burger Town posted their CLOSED FOR THE SEASON sign, just after lunchtime on Labor Day. Between the all-caps, and closing up even before the day was done, it was as if they had drawn a line in the sand, rudely announcing that summer is gone–just get over it.
The wind gets on my nerves, makes me jumpy when it’s gone on too long. Maybe, I’m anxious about leaving home, for the long journey to Ireland. In the rush of summer, I’ve not had the space, the stillness, in which to see the doe’s eyes in the moonlight. And, all the people we love, who’ve stayed with us this summer, have left long shadows in their wake. Late in the afternoon today, after I’d cleaned house and hung sheets on the clothesline, the wind finally stopped and the sun was warm. I went out on my kayak and except for the Bald Eagle up in a tree, and seagulls bobbing in the water, I was all alone as I glided along the shoreline in green-blue clear water. I could feel in the stillness that I was floating into Fall, and “already this September evening is as old as a photograph of itself”, and it felt like home.