I have spent nearly an hour this evening trolling through journal posts from past Septembers.
Nothing much changes.
There are slight variations in the weather from year to year--drought or rain--lingering heat or a sudden downturn in temperatures.
There is a tallying of the garden, the crops that have flourished, those that have been disappointing.
My observations don't change greatly; I wake between 4 and 5, lie in bed sleepily watching as daylight leaks slowly into the room defining the furniture, picking out objects as fuzzy shapes of grey. I glance at the red numbers on the digital clock, knowing that it isn't time to rise and start the tasks of the morning. Time enough when colors return to the room: the mellow 'hand-loomed scarlet' paint beneath the white chair rail; the patterns and colors of the quilts stacked in the open cupboard.
Through the window the trees bordering the west end of the meadow as it pitches toward the ravine are foreshortened, distorted by the gradual slope of the land. The tallest oak seems no higher than the lower panes of my window.
The hummingbirds are dispersing, a few at a time, seemingly on schedule. Watering potted rosemarys and geraniums on the screened porch I may startle a solitary bird zooming away from the feeder. The clamoring whirl of tiny swift bodies fighting for sugar syrup is over for another summer. A male hummer darts to perch on the clematis trellis; goldfinches sway on the leaning stalks of coneflowers.
Sunflowers at the edge of the garden cant at crazy angles, a few shredded gold petals still clinging to the darkly ripened seed heads.
Jim has harvested butternut squash, trundling them, heaped in the old wheelbarrow, to rest on the covered back porch before being brought in to line the newspaper covered shelves in the dark back hallway.
We have no fall garden this year. The relentless heat of late July and August didn't inspire the seeds of beets and green beans to germinate. A few gaunt spires of okra stand in the now weedy area they shared with rows of potatoes and green peppers. Jim has run over much of the garden area with the tractor and bush hog.
'When can I take out the sunflowers?' he asks.
'Not yet,' I reply. 'Let the goldfinches finish their gleaning.'
Several of the clematis vines have produced fresh growth, even a blossom here and there, smaller and paler than the exuberant bloom of early summer.
The shrub roses have struggled against a particularly fierce onslaught of Japanese beetles. Will there be a few blooms to cherish before frost?
Newly planted pansies have settled into their pots and I have pricked out the tiny self-sown seedlings from the spring plants, given them fresh soil. They are in the greenhouse where I hope they will put down good roots before winter.
As the calendar moves us toward the equinox I hope for a mild and prolonged autumn; mellow days in which to prune, weed, reorganize perennial plantings; days of gentle rain when a fire in the woodstove is welcome and the smell of simmering soup and baking bread foretells shortened days and crisp clear nights.
Cosmos have not been vigorous this summer.
Cosmos petals look as though they had been streakily painted in watercolors.
Newly purchased pansies with a 'baby' seedling or two tucked in.
A mum from last year wintered in one of the raised black tubs.
Always the companionship of cats! Shelby, the cantankerous little calico.
Robert--who lords it over us, indoors and out.