We are alone again in our woods. Our neighbor to the north pulled away in the dark, hours before we turned on our lights. He had helped Don pull the motorboat out yesterday afternoon, and as we sat with our kitties by the water in the evening, we could hear the crackling of a fire he had made on his back porch. His wife had left a week earlier, wanting to continue her golf game in South Carolina. He must have enjoyed sitting on his porch, by the warm fire, enjoying this view. It felt like he should have had us over for a farewell drink–or we should have invited him to our bench by the water. I thought maybe he would bring over his remaining tomatoes. But, it’s not that kind of relationship. It’s like that with the summer people–you just wave hello from your dock now and then. Something about that adds to the melancholy this time of year.
There’s been a slow gentle rain today. I know we’ve had a few passing showers, but it honestly has not rained like this since June. It smells so fresh and lovely, and feels like another turning of the page into this new season. On our public radio freeforms program this morning, all the songs were classics about Autumn. The host said that someone had called in and remarked that the songs were so melancholy. He remarked that in our listening area of western Montana, we all know what it feels like to enter October–it’s as if the curtain has suddenly fallen down on summer. He then proceeded to play Joni Mitchell’s classic song, “The Urge for Going”–
…And summertime was falling down and winter was closing in
Now the warriors of winter they gave a cold triumphant shout
And all that stays is dying and all that lives is getting out
See the geese in chevron flight flapping and racing on before the snow
They’ve got the urge for going and they’ve got the wings so they can go
They get the urge for going
When the meadow grass is turning brown
Summertime is falling down and winter is closing in
I’ll ply the fire with kindling and pull the blankets to my chin
I’ll lock the vagrant winter out and I’ll bolt my wandering in
I’d like to call back summertime and have her stay for just another month or so
But she’s got the urge for going so I guess she’ll have to go
She get the urge for going when the meadow grass is turning brown
And all her empires are falling down
And winter’s closing in
And I get the urge for going when the meadow grass is turning brown
And summertime is falling down
Well, I got the urge to move all my summertime clothes and flip-flops to the upstairs closet, and bring down the wool sweaters and various boots. It was a good rainy day activity, part of the process in getting prepared for winter. But, I hope it comes on slowly. I wish it could be the way Robert Frost suggests– only one leaf should drop in the morning, then another at noon–slow, slow!
October, by Robert Frost
O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow,
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.