Queen Anne's Lace trims the roadsides like miles of tatting,
and jewel weed fills every damp corner with a spangle of showy orange.
Still, on closer inspection, I know it's autumn.
The blue cornflower stars are mostly gone,
and only a smattering of butter and eggs can still be found.
Weeds whose names I don't know are overtaking the roadsides.
(must have been budget cuts in the township this year, because the trimming guy has only made his rounds once this summer...Maybe there was too much snow plowing overtime last winter?)
And the crickets. I've written of them before, these incessant chirpers who for a few weeks give me a kind of reprieve from the unstoppable ringing in my ears...because they are so noisy, so steadily, relentlessly present that I can't quite tell where the ringing stops and the chirping begins. Which is a relief. Sort of. I don't know how many of their 900 species are native to my valley, but their never ending sound...should one call it a song?- echoes from roadside weeds and hills and even, I'm almost certain, trees.
Autumn is in the air.
This week I was startled to meet, in my own garden, an out-of-sync 17 year locust, correctly known as the periodical cicada. He must march to his own drummer, for most of his group emerged in hordes in 2008 and we'll won't see them again until 2025. I've seen recent evidence of two such visitors here on Hickory Lane, papery dry shells of their nymph stage clinging to the great maple. I hope they find each other, for I think their whole purpose is to reproduce in the 4-6 week window of their brief life. They'd best get at it; autumn is in the air.
Change is in the air, and I'm okay with that.
But this year we're more tied to a traditional school calendar since Youngest Mystery is a part-time student in a traditional school. (Yes, change is in the air!) So, we found a few days in August, before soccer pre-season, to revel in the joys of seaside summer (books for the grownups, swim boards and bikes for the kids, mini-golf for everyone!) and returned to find that summer hadn't quite disappeared while we were away. Thus, I've been much more able to see the gradual shift from from summer to autumn, and I think I'm moving more realistically and naturally into the coming season.
And in the process, two themes that have run parallel through my life in recent years seem to be converging in my soul:
...Being where my feet are,
and choosing gratitude in that moment.
It's a daily/hourly decision, sometimes moment by moment, and I want to live this way, wholeheartedly present, and very very grateful.
Life goes better that way. And I know this.
But I don't always remember to choose.
Talking about it here helps me, holds me accountable and puts my resolve in black and white...or in this case, purple and white.
So, here I am again,
how to be present in this moment,
how to release my efforts to clutch what is fleeting,
how to welcome this change and embrace it with gratitude.
I will list my moments of gratitude in these in-between-summer-and-autumn days:
-Youngest Mystery sleeping with window open, fan on, wrapped in his heavy blanket.
-friendship deepening as stock pot fills with salsa veggies. Chopping together is always, always better than chopping alone.
-new bird in the garden...migration visitor.
-buying huge peppers for (another) canning project and seeing a garden plot of joyful sunflowers
Autumn is in the air...And in this moment, I will welcome it with gratitude. Hummin'B.