Into the Autumn

I opened the window that looks over the backyard and could barely hear the crickets, their soothing sounds slowed to nearly a whisper.  I wanted to keep the window open just for one last night but the heat has been turned on in the house to combat the recent chilly nights and so I slid the window shut.

Earlier this evening,  I had inspected the hopeful peppers and the sad tomatoes.  They had taken on a greenish-yellow hue, drooping on weepy branches.  I attempted to push them upright but they just slumped back into their droopy place. I recalled how the spring had such an optimistic start.  This was my first year of (somewhat unsuccessfully) growing vegetables by seed and I had waited from March to late May to see if my little babies would make it.  Marigolds, basil, Serrano peppers, and Roma tomatoes smiled at me from their little seed package pictures.  I envisioned giving  away my many extra plants to friends and family in the spring, reserving the best for my patio pots.  The world was bright and smiling and colorful.

I cheered when the first seedlings arrived  then panicked  after millions seemed to arrive all in one week filling the 48 mini pods of fertilized dirt.  To water or not to water, that was the daily debate – the debate I apparently lost.  Most of the plants had to be thinned out in an attempt to weed out the weak.  Most of the strong ultimately died, their little heads to heavy to be held up by the thin stem.  Only a few made it.  The survivors  were the pride of my summer.  I watched as they grew and chased the resident squirrel away as vegetables formed.  I would talk to each plant to boost their confidence and to speed their growth.  I studied the sun’s angle.  Each little bloom was a victory.  When my first pepper became ripe enough to pick, I winced as I removed it from the rest of the plant I was still nursing.  I threw the pepper into a chopped salad all the same.  If only the season could last forever.

Not surprisingly,  I was not mentally prepared for the arrival of  autumn and its steely grip on my small, immature crop.  When the Super Moon arrived, the days and nights had still been warm but the moon’s bloody shadow stole  the life from my garden and cast a spell on the beautiful trees nearby.  I knew dangerous change was in the air on Saturday as I sat in a cold rain peaking at the football field from beneath my clinging hood.  From the quickly abandoning stands, I stared down at my drenched canvas all-stars slowly realizing my feet were  freezing.  My jacket beaded with raindrops, the water pooling  on my arms and shoulders.   I still shiver at the memory of the wet chill..  No,  I decided,  I am not in the least bit prepared for the coming cold, for weekends sitting in a messy house wondering how I can get out of going anywhere that required clearing snow off my car while covered countless layers of outer wear.  I had little hope of getting through the next six months without some sort of distraction.

Where did the sunny days go?  The news has turned bad, the barbecue is covered,  and  the heat is on in the house.  The damn heat is on in the house.  My mood has shifted into low gear and I just want to go in reverse.

I opened the window again.  Don’t go crickets.  Please don’t go.  The moon was only kidding.

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