Yesterday morning I stepped out the door into autumn: summer's heat had been nudged out of the way by a wall of gray clouds bringing cooler air and the scent of fall. Dry brown leaves line the creek bed while the trees on the hills are painted with dabs of bright color, just a hint of the glory to come.
Despite the overcast sky, it was still warm enough for short sleeves when I left the house--but then Hopeful and I walked up the hill into the clouds, where I wished for warmer clothes. It wasn't exactly raining, but tiny cold droplets condensed on my skin as I walked along the high ridge on a road shrouded in fog. The hayfields up there are dotted with round brown bales and flocks of birds storing up energy for migration; at one point Hopeful bounded gleefully into a field to startle a flock of starlings into instant flight. Later, when we got back down to the creek, she took off after two big blue herons, which eluded her by the simple expedient of taking flight, a feat they accomplish with a sort of lazy aplomb. Hopeful has a natural talent for leaping, but despite many attempts, she has not yet mastered the art of flight.
When we got back home, we picked hot peppers and eggplants and okra (meaning I picked them while Hopeful supervised helpfully) to cook with the tomatoes we picked yesterday. All those bright red pepper and tomatoes make the garden look like Christmas, but the tomato plants are turning brown and droopy and the eggplants are just about out of commission. Everything is winding down and getting ready for a change, including me. Summer has been terrific, but the first sniff of autumn in the air fills me with peace.