We woke to a dreary, grey day after a night of gusty rain.
Pebbles, her coat dark with wet, waits in the end of the barn which has been designated as her shelter.
I squelched over sodden ground to the pear tree to collect treats for Pebbles.
Although I carried the camera in my jacket pocket the chilly drizzle meant spatters on the camera lens.
The old tobacco barn hunkers down in the misty and somber landscape.
The barn kittens are often in the carport by the time I enter the kitchen in the morning.
When I go out with their food they scamper up the path to the barn
dashing between Pebbles hooves, rushing back to make sure I really have their morning treats.
Today there was no sign of them until I was almost at the barn.
They appeared out of the dimness and waited, dry-footed, for me to arrange their dishes
and serve breakfast.
I waded through sopping grass toward the ancient pear tree.
Stripped of its spring beauty of blossoms, with the summer gloss of green leaves rusted, and the bushels of golden fruit gathered in or abandoned to the wasps and small rodents, the tree shows its age.
On the left side are gaps where branches have broken in other years, on the right over-burdened limbs bow toward the ground.
Pears still lie in golden, softening heaps,
blotches of color in a day of somber, rain-dulled landscape.
A few pears still cling to the branches, out-of-reach
among the weathered foliage.
Skies are ashen, skeleton tree trunks are black with moisture.
Boundary line of the back field. The wood is shadowy, the light within crepuscular at mid-morning.
Only the areas of greenest grass seem alive in the rain-drenched gloom.
The garden is quiet, with no movement of foraging bird or vanished butterfly to recall the abundance
of earlier weeks.
Overhead a hawk sails the lowering sky, its voice sharply plaintive.
Pivoting full circle all I can see are leaden skies, dripping branches, frost-bleached pastures.
At lunch time a brassy sun broke free of the cloud overhang and
briefly relieved the gloom.
Cloud masses rampaged across a brilliant backdrop of blue, driven by a wuthering wind that clashed through bare branches.
Pebbles strides along the garden fence her coat rough-dried in the sharp wind.
Behind her to the north gunmetal clouds seeth.
Bathed momentarily in the harsh light, the pear tree appears greener, less haggard.
The sweet gum tree just beyond the carport flaunts a few coppery leaves.
Behind it the maple is a silver-etched silhouette.
Within moments the sun had vanished.
The afternoon dissolved into surly shadows.
Inside the house I listened to the moaning and keening of the wind, the occasional clatter of
objects knocked helter-skelter on the porch and in the car port.
The cats were twitchy, seeking warm dark corners, curling into circular mounds, noses tucked into paws, tails wrapped protectively over furry faces, shutting out the uncertainties of the weather.
Dusk came early.
J. who is responsible for milking Dory the Cow while the Yoders are away on a family visit,
declared that he had better go while he could still see.
He came back in the dark, stating that he was thankful for the windbreak of the small shed that Joseph constructed to shelter cow and milker in nasty weather.
The milk has been strained and put away to cool, except a bowlful taken to the barn kittens.
We have made stacks of toast and for me, a large mug of tea.
Both the big stove in the basement and the fireplace have been stuffed with wood.
Outside the harbingers of winter prevail in wind-driven rain
and falling temperatures.
The old barn provides hay-heaped nests for the kittens
and Pebbles can retreat to the dark shelter of the lean-to--if she will.
I have doubtless be-labored the exercise of finding colorful words for this day of wildly unsettled weather.
Stomping about this morning in my tall rubber boots, with wisps of mist-dampened hair straggling from under one of J.'s caps, I thought how cliched our descriptive terms become, perhaps because their very familiarity calls up the representative mental image.
Sodden: the sound of the word is heavy with wet and chill, a drenched garment cast off in distaste.
Dreary, dour, lowering: I can see the greyness, feel it even--enfolding, dispiriting, compressing one into a small cold space.
Wuthering, gusting, howling: the wind has many voices, conjuring up old tales and ancient superstitions as it ushers in a storm.
How do you describe the weather in your corner of the world?