Posts Tagged ‘autumn’

The weather has turned cold here in Seattle. Nothing like what most of the nation is experiencing, to be sure, but cold nonetheless. The leaves that haven’t fallen are withered and frostbitten on their stems, and the remnants of Autumn’s glory now lie in patches of brown detritus scattered across the gardens.

Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Island, WAOn clear, cold afternoons, when the sky is a robin’s egg blue and the sun has just melted the frost off the shaggy lawns, I hear the machinery of modern yard maintenance fire up. Mowers, blowers, strimmers, and edgers set up a whirring, sputtering rumble that blankets the neighborhood as homeowners take advantage of a rainless November day.

For myself, I prefer to use manual tools when possible. The lawnmower, the strimmer, these I keep and use, but on bright autumn days I reach instead for the rake, the broom, and the shovel to tend my garden. I spend so much of my day working nothing but my mind–analyzing systems, cross-checking code, diagramming solutions, navigating interoffice politics–that the thought of surrounding myself with machinery and noise is abhorrent.

Before I step outside, I bundle up with scarf and gloves and quilted overshirt, but soon, as I warm to my task, these layers drop away. It takes me longer to tidy my garden than it does my more mechanized neighbors–yesterday, after a couple hours’ work, I only cleared out the patio and lower section of the back garden–but it’s a quieter time, and that’s what I want.

Peace. Serenity. Take in a clean, cold lungful of air and let it out in a frosty breath.




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Conifer RainAutumn’s first storm has hit Seattle, and my commute is packed with sounds not heard since spring.

Sheets of rain hiss through parchment leaves.
Fat drops splat as they crater sidewalk puddles.
Eaves and downspouts plather their runoff into waiting pools.
Tire treads sizzle down dawn’s slick streets.
Jacket fronts zip.
Gore-tex and oilcloth rustle and wheeze.
Wind gusts flubble against hat brims and upturned collars.
People chatter light-heartedly, pleased–despite their complaints–to see the rain return.

The sun’s light slowly soaks through the grey, but people don’t hurry. There is no rain-born hustle-bustle in Seattle. We don’t dodge and weave, fair-weather commandos rushing from awning to doorway for protection from the elements. We don’t hold newspapers over our heads. The rain doesn’t surprise us, doesn’t discommode us. We walk as we always do, taking the rain on our heads today just as we took the sun in summer. Occasionally, I see a face upturned to the falling weather, a smile lifted toward our ceiling of drear.

Autumn’s first storm has hit Seattle, washing us clean.


Sumac Autumn

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It fades, Summer does. It does not leave in a rush or slip away overnight. It fades, its brilliance seeping into the ground, the sky, the air.

At first, it cedes the night, relenting in the early hours, allowing the world at last to breathe and with a cooling sigh to sleep, finally, sleep.

Then the evenings fade. The sun, now tired from its summer’s work, runs low across the sky and gently slides toward twilight, returning hours it once commanded back to moon and stars.

Today, the morning faded, too, as gentle fog hid the buildingtops and seagulls mewed above, unseen. The streets were mist, the sky a blanket, and every streetlamp was a halo-shrouded gem.

The afternoon now is Summer’s only realm, but not for long; its threats are all worn out, its bark now has no bite. Flanked on either side by dewy morning and the star-shot dusk, it has no time to muster strength and soon will leave the field. The gold of summer grass will green, the green of summer leaves will rust and blaze, and Autumn, soon, will come into her own.

Summer’s nearly done. It’s fading as we speak.


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