Moving along in the second week of October, each day is more gorgeous than the one before. If past is prologue, the flame-colored leaves will twirl en mass to the ground within two weeks. Lucky for us, here on the western side of the state, we’ll have another month of golden Tamarack trees to dot the green mountain hillsides, which are now dusted with snow. But, there is no denying that this season of dazzling color is moving to its close.
Yesterday, we got the wicker furniture from the porch put into the boat house, and moved the cedar Adirondack chairs up from the lake, for some winter protection under the porch roof. I put old throws on the chairs so the kitties can make a less abrupt transition from the cushioned, comfortable wicker settee, to their heating pads in the garage. The screen doors and window screens are stored away, to maximize winter’s low light coming into the living room. It was a beautiful afternoon for Fall chores. The lake made a gentle, rhythmic lapping sound and the grebes cooed out to one another in the water. As satisfying as it was, it felt quite melancholy to be putting away Summer, as I carried the basket of soccer and footballs, bats and gloves and frisbees, down to the basement. Stored away over in a corner, I spotted a pair of plastic booster chairs, from long ago, back when the grandkids needed them. Now, the oldest graduates from high school this year, and there will be three more in high school next year. Time is moving along.
I went to Missoula on Saturday to watch 12-year-old Anna play soccer games. I joined Joy, under her sport umbrella tent, and wrapped up in one of those sleeping bag contraptions which allows the arms to be free for clapping. We had hours to catch up with one another, talk about the kids, and lament the dire news coming out of Washington, and our fears for this world of ours. Dark was closing in by the time we left for the hour and a half drive back up to the lake, and rain came on hard. But, by the time we reached the lake’s southern shore, the rain had ended, and when we arrived home, we all talked about the beautiful glow of light in the west and the bright stars already reflecting in the water.
Anna’s teammate, and best friend, came home to spend the night with us. At breakfast the next morning, I asked the girls how school was going so far this year, and what was different about middle school. They said that in science class, there were real microscopes and that had looked at strands of hair, and skin cells, and it was all pretty amazing. I told them that I had spotted the Big Dipper over the lake, on our drive home the night before, because I’d read where it would be on earthsky.org, and then I pulled the site up on my computer, and we talked about how amazing astronomy was, and saw photos of the new SETI telescopes in South Africa, and how they listen for signs of ET. They were convinced there is no way we can be the only humans, with all the universes that are out there. They appeared to know about the new dwarf planet named The Goblin, and, when I asked if Pluto is back into the category of planets, they were pretty sure it was.
Late in the day, as I sat in the sunshine by the lake, long after they’d gone, I thought that you can really believe in the future, be hopeful, actually, when you have conversations like that, sitting in your breakfast nook, with a pair of bright-eyed and curious 12-year old girls, on a lovely October morning. It can feel like we are living in the end times these days, but I thought to myself, “the kids are all right”, the kids are all right. Don and I have just finished watching the second series of the Canadian production of Anne (with an E) of Green Gables–the enchanting story of a young girl who opens the hearts and throws the world open for those around her. And, as she declared, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” Indeed.