Summer always finds a way to excuse itself just when the counters of every garden-growing household are overcome with red tomatoes and over-zealous zucchini. While the cook is scrambling to convince the eater that zucchini bread really is different from its muffin counterpart, summer saunters out the back door, mouth full of sugar snap peas, fingers sticky with the season’s last peach. We go to bed with the windows wide to the warm stretch of evening sky and wake to the struggle of buttering bread with butter that’s gone stiff in the chill of early morning. The bread rips and our feet beg for socks.
We’ve had a stretch of these bread ripping, sock craving days. Enough that the bones of our house can’t seem to shake the cold that’s gripped them. Neither can we for that matter–Andy left for work this morning with a stocking cap and Sparrow requested oatmeal for breakfast.
And as much as it pains me to say it, I started a fire in the wood stove. Calendar be damned, I was cold and didn’t want to be.
I will admit, though, to relishing in the ritual of fire starting. All summer long my hands have been busy with dirt and wildflowers, beets and butterflies. And while I cherish them all, when it comes time to gather birch bark, promise of warmth contained in the curl of each piece, I am ready.
Summer has given me its delightful song day after day, the tune of which I have thoroughly enjoyed, danced to, lingered with. I find its song in the face of my daughter as she learns to skip rocks, in the unfolding magic of a cabbage leaf, mingled with the taste of blueberries still warm from sun, along the shimmering trail of the aggravating slug. I fall asleep to it, dream it, write words to it, insufficient as they may be. Summer’s song is easy, effortless and light. The doors can be left open, shoes discarded on the step, meals eaten without plates, silverware or even a table and chairs. I do very little thinking in summer. Instead I feel and experience, daydream and wish.
But Autumn has started in now, its elegant melody weaving in and out of the aspen’s high branches. Listen, the two are singing together, each note perfectly balanced, a harmony of coming and going.
Soon, summer will be a thought tucked into the airy corners of my mind. Soon, autumn will sing alone.
I have a kindred spirit named Karina who knows the symphony of this season well. When I hear it, I think of her. When I hear it, I think of spiced tea sipped slowly, yarn wrapped around the fingers of hands that make, donuts rising in a cast iron’s hot oil like harvest moons, conversations strung like twinkling lights around the dinner table. Things slow, bearing a weight unknown to the summer months. You can sense it in the air, in the creatures of the woods, the people.
Autumn’s song is different in tone and rhythm but gorgeous in its own right. And when I hear it, I am grateful–for the intention it forces me to have. For the lessons it’s taught my heart. In its song is instruction. Come, it says, become intimate with change, with season, with yes and no, with a timing beyond your control. Trust, it says, that you are exactly where you need to be.