Friday, September 24, 2010

Surrender

geese landing on the pond
 Dawn comes later these days and dusk settles over the pond far sooner than I’d like, but in between the days are filled with golden light. The trees at the far edge of the water are donning their fall colors. Suddenly the greenery of spruce and pine trees stands out, tucked as they are among the flaming maples and yellowing locusts. The air has a soft, waiting quality about it.

Acorns are dropping. They fall down through the canopy with sharp little cracks. Wild apples, too, are ripening and letting go, landing with soft thuds on the grass beneath abandoned trees. I leave the acorns to the squirrels but I polish the least wormy of the apples against the arm of my sweater and nibble slowly as I walk, always careful to make a close inspection before each bite. Wild apples always taste of sunlight and summer rain, as though both were stored just beneath the skin. Sometimes I can find enough unbruised fruit to make a pie or a batch of applesauce.

Geese are gathering on the pond every evening. They fly low over the road, their wings whispering, breaking the water’s glassy surface into brilliant shards as they land. They lift again in the morning when the mist is still thick, winging between it and the sun, only their voices revealing the secret of their flight. I hear them and feel my heart respond with an ancient yearning. I know the somber days will follow in their wake and I am reluctant to be left here to face the cold while the remains of summer are escaping on beating wings.

I am no longer wakened by bird song, though the crickets and summer bugs still sing me to sleep. When the late afternoon sun slants through the trees in transparent bands I can see innumerable insects dancing there, wings aglitter in the light as though each one were jeweled. I want to dance in the sunlight too, with jeweled wings that would lift me far and away.

Everywhere, the green and growing things are reluctantly letting go of their vibrancy. Grasses are turning buff and brown and sepia, corn stalks wave golden leaves, every tree save the evergreens boasts a different shade of crimson or yellow or orange. Milkweed pods grow thick as the leaves lose their green and with every breeze the colored remnants of summer swirl to the ground in surrender.

When I am tired of walking, I throw myself down in the crackling meadow grass, half drowsing in the warmth and silence, and watch the clouds tell shape-shifter stories. The rest of the world simply melts away and nothing is left but the moment – the sun and the grass and the wings and me.

10 comments:

Brian Miller said...

excellent...love that moment you end with..so serene...all set up by your marvelous description i love nature...

Molly said...

I think you must be one of the Little People I used to hear about when I was young, Pauline! They were very much in tune with Nature too, but shy, so they danced in the forests in shafts of moonlight.....But I'm pretty sure their wings were jewel-encrusted too.

Marion said...

yesterday, as I sat in the sun, I wondered if the world could get more golden than it was. The sky was a deep blue and the aspen were bright gold against the backdrop of the sky. It was almost heartbreakingly beautiful.

I miss the reds, though. We don't seem to have many red trees in the wild here.

And the cold weather is quickly arriving...we have had snow flurries. This morning, the wind is the story...it blew all night and doesn't look like it will let up today...

Joanna Jenkins said...

Big sigh. That was beautiful.
Thank you.
jj

Barbara said...

How many years now have you been my harbinger of fall? You describe the ritual end of summer in such a beautiful way and all winter long find beauty even in the cold and bleak. Enjoy those last few apples. They will come again in the next cycle.

Pauline said...

Brian M - thanks :) I love it, too!

Molly - as a child I desperately wanted to be one of the Little people!

Marion - the reds are just starting here now...

JJ - you're welcome :)

Barbara - I guess about four years now? Thanks for being such a faithful follower! You always have a way of grounding me.

Reya Mellicker said...

God, this is exquisite. Made me feel cozy and peaceful and drowsy in the best autumnal way.

Wow.

20th Century Woman said...

Lovely to read about a different sort of fall to the one we have out here in the Pacific Northwest. At least this year it's just rain, rain, rain. My garden is a mush.

deb said...

I could read this again and again.
and I miss bird song wakings....
but there is a season for everything.

Pauline said...

Reya, thank you. It's always fun to have someone say my words have that effect :)

20th Century - I have family on the west coast and they say summer has been dismal.

deb, there is indeed and each one has its beauty. thanks or reading :)