It's cooler---54 right now, and the feeling of Fall is creeping into the air. Today's a bit of a cloudy day, and all the colors are muted---all the still-greens and the waning punches of red and bright pink and the yellows of the potted flowers and the few holdouts in the drought-sered garden.
And the yard itself is a mishmash of the weekend's garage cleanout---still with the broken-down boxes, flattened and tied, and the bags of styrofoam from the packing, and the other keep-or-save or where-will-it-GO items of twenty years' accumulation.
There's naught but green, still, in all the hanging trees and bushes, grown like jungle along the fence-sides, crawled over garage and potting shed, and remarkably lively, for the months of waterless existence that have been August and September. Hardly a peek of any orange or gold along the roadsides, for the heat has fooled the calendars of the trees, leaving them gasping in the hot still air until the first quick cool night just now.
The only calls-of-Autumn have been the temperatures and the change in the bright of the days---the slants of the sun have tilted mightily, and we look up, early in the evening, to see darkened windows when we still feel eight p.m.
Bringing out the Fall decor---the remembered swirls and festoons of bright leaves and gilded gourds and the old familiar pumpkin mugs, the small new Jack-be-Littles of the perfect hand-sized pumpkins and squash, the crisp, born-lacquered bean-pods from the neighbor's tree, the new string of jack-o-lights for the living room dresser's vase of dried limbs. We'll get more of the decorating done soon, winding a leaf-boa around the dining room chandelier, scattering those big crisp seed-pods down the table amongst brighter hues, putting small candles into the luminaria for the walk, but today's a stay-in-and-bake something day, I think.
I was struck by the imagery in a recent Little Compton Mornings, by my friend Jane:
There are several faithful, or fateful, signs of waning summer. One that never ceases to catch me off guard is the dusky lilac-pink of Joe Pye-weed looming, portent-like, by the side of the road—how is it that something so large and attention-demanding can rise up so suddenly, seemingly overnight? The Queen Anne’s Lace, far more quiet, just as if it had been there all along and you had been too fool to notice.
The air has changed. Nights are cooler, and the sky at evening has a wistful look, its radiance faded from the intensity of just a few weeks ago, its colors muted as if to more age-appropriate hues. In the morning when I take my coffee outside, the sun’s slant barely reaches the table top, quitting its old job of cup warmer, and telling me to trade in my hat for a sweater. Even the sounds are different. They seem to say, it’s time to go.