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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Winding Down

The tomato plants are turning yellow. We’ve reached mid September and the sun no longer climbs over the trees to warm the patio. Tiny orbs of fruit still ripen, but the vines slouch and hang with withered leaves. As I pluck the flesh from weary stems, squirrels stuff acorns into bulging faces in the yard behind me. The cicadas’ dentist-drill shrieks have faded to keening whispers. Holding a harvest of cherry tomatoes in the hem of my shirt, it occurs to me that I’ve been busy for the last few weeks and almost forgot to notice that we are in transition.

A month ago, the mid-afternoon sun poured over the top of the house and streamed into the back windows, producing sweat on my upper lip. Most times, the thermometer out back recorded temps over 90. Today I park myself at the computer in blue jeans and a sweatshirt. The house sits chilly in the shade, and when I walk outside to pick the tomatoes, I take a startled breath at air that feels warm.

For a moment, I sit on the back steps in the one sunny spot filtering through the shadows cast by waving oak leaves. In a few weeks, we’ll be stacking wood. The sun will set earlier.  We’ll light a fire, simmer soup on the stove, bake something apple in the oven. Trees will bleed the reds and oranges hard frosts cut into them; flannel shirts will brush soft against our skin.

There is so much to look forward to about autumn. But for the next few days, I’m going to focus on now—how the sedum blushes pink in the top garden while Black-eyed Susans brighten the ledge below, and especially, on a lingering shawl of warmth that wraps itself around my shoulders as the departing fingers of summer lift on a freshening breeze.

11 comments:

Tabitha Bird said...

Oh Liza, your words... that is just beautiful!

AND a HUGE thank you. Your amazing cards arrived in the mail yesterday. They are soooooo good. Thank you once again and please let me know when you are ready to promote them on my blog.

Jan Morrison said...

Liza - what a wonderful post - so clear and rich! We do live in the same part of the world weather wise. I like the fall so much and you've just reminded me of why.
I made granola yesterday. ha.

glnroz said...

it seems you enjoyed writing this post. I enjoyed reading it....felt like a season for flannel, as you said.

T. Anne said...

This post is like a hug for autumn! I'm staring out the window right now at a bumper crop of tomatoes and wondering what in the world I'm going to do with them. Yum!

Helen Ginger said...

What a wonderful post, Liza. You're so right about focusing on the here and now. I know I sometimes forget to do that.

Robin said...

Living in the south, we don't get that startling change of season that you get up north. It is still HOT here. However, as someone who grew up in the north I remember it well. It was so nice to relive it vicariously with you. Could you sense my presence as you went about your day?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You're wearing a sweatshirt because it's chilly? I want to live where you live.

Ann Best said...

This is SUCH an evocative scene, so beautifully written, that I've saved it to re-read.

It's still very hot here in Virginia USA; and still hot in Williamsburg where we recently spent 3 days on our 9 day vacation. I would love to sit in the chilly shade with you and pick tomatoes! And turn off the a/c which I don't like.

I love your "a lingering shawl of warmth that wraps itself around my shoulders." Lovely!
Ann

Erin MacPherson said...

Your writing is so pretty... and descriptive. I'm superexcited for fall... I love the pumpkiny smells and the leaves changing color and all that.

Lynda Young said...

The 'between' seasons are the best. Here in Oz I'm enjoying the new warmth of spring :)

Lyn
W.I.P. It: A Writer's Journey

jbchicoine said...

I've been doing a lot of sitting on my back steps too, soaking up the last bit of summer. Usually, I am eager for the change of season, but this year, not so much--I simply can't get enought of that sun...