Posts Tagged ‘autumn’

Killing Frost

It had to happen.

On this morning, the flowers are more brilliant than before.  Brittle frosted petals, leaves, buds. Deepened color in the autumn garden, a medieval sketch of high linear detail, a confection of final color — red, blue, yellow, green, orange. No feature missed. Paused in perfection, flowers held taut in icy fingers.

With the day, the frost relents, the flowers sag to brown mush. A slow exhalation of the garden into the coming season.  Until next year.

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Bright burnt-orange and yellow leaves swirl off stories-high maple trees.

Some race upwards as others billow wide on a playful breeze.

Like children released at recess, the leaves seem set to begin a new journey. Summer days and nights in moonlit trees have passed.

Peerless blue sunny sky, the ephemera of autumn.


The sun has set but radiant light lingers about the tops of the trees.  Red-orange canopy doing a slow cha-cha in the evening breeze.

From my ground level office, I can see the changing garden.  No killing frost yet. Roots that steady and sink deep. Still-luminous Zinnias, gold and red.    

Agastache, licorice scented stems and leaves sag, laden with berry pink flowers.

A perfectly timed V-formation of geese passes through.

High in the sky, the maple dresses for autumn as the garden mellows into rich color.

As above, so below.


An afternoon walk in a suburban neighborhood.  Halloween bling every few houses.

A mild breeze, temps in the 70’s, and color on the trees the likes of which have not been seen for years.

Walking the dogs, we scuttle with dry but still colorful leaves down the street.

The perfection is timeless, seamlessness between self and sky that renders human transparent.

These are the moments for which we take on skin—to see and sense with no understanding, no cause or conclusion, nothing but the transitory joy that Is.

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The shadows of bush branches outside the window fall on the sunlit wall by my table. 

The wind waves and they dance on the wall and along the tabletop.

Life is in those shadows.  Seasons pass, decades, and the shadows send a signal of what is present somewhere, but not within my reach.

Their impression, more fluid than their being, is energy just passing through of the solid object upon which we are more inclined to focus.

Shadows can traverse time, forward and backward, infinite. While the object that opens that door is even now withering to autumn.

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Owl Moon

Just past full, a moon so bright only major constellations are visible.

Early morning, autumn in the air, just me and the night critters.  An opossum and I startled each other mid-street.

Rounding a corner, an unmistakable call.  Somewhere in the trees to my left was a Great Horned Owl, I stopped. Soon, I realized I was  listening in the wrong direction.  The call was coming from my right, a greenbelt behind a string of low-slung ranch-style homes.

Then I caught on.  It was a duet, the conversation of two Great Horned Owls, with me in the middle.  I listened in for some time before the call to my left threaded off as it flew quietly through the dark.  My cue to leave.

There is magic in the language of owls.  And a kind of hope, at least so says author Jane Yolen.  “The kind of hope that flies on silent wings under a shining Owl Moon.”



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There is no end to the tale of the last Monarch chrysalis that hung from the siding of my house.

When unseasonably cold nights threatened, I insulated the chrysalis under a box against the house, cushioned by towels to keep out the cold.  Sheltered, it survived the wind and cold  intact.  Maturing, the chrysalis grew transparent, revealing the black and orange creature waiting within.

Warmth returned.  Days later, the Monarch was gone, chrysalis and all.  Did it blow away entirely on a warm autumn night?  Or did the butterfly finally fly on, leaving its aged former home to join restless leaves on their journey?

There is no end to the tale.

Not a bad thing.

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Can you see through my eyes?
Fall leaves gold into green
Sun after clouds
Limitless blur of blue sky
Seasons slipping by me

A raucous jay, dimming light
Backlit gold into red
Rise and fall in the breathing wind
Years getting by me

I have seen too much
How I wish you were here

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From a distance they are startling.  Brilliant ornaments bob on the breeze from twisted charcoal colored branches. Two trees, one dressed in red, the other in gold.  Smooth round color against leafless gnarled stems creates a visually festive feast.

On closer look, the ground is strewn with ornaments. Apple trees.

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It has been just about a year since Longshot, a late season Monarch butterfly I once knew.

Brought inside from freezing November cold, Longshot emerged from its chrysalis too late, with stiff wings.  Passing on amidst fine fresh cut flowers and greenery, Longshot had a view of a sky he or she never touched.

Buried under the milkweed in my garden, I have visited Longshot as the winter and my legal ordeal wore on.  Spring and summer came, with some luck the worst part of a high conflict custody matter is behind me.

Come autumn, the garden is again a riot of bursting seed pods, crimson grass, yellow leaves, azure and purple sage.  Color to rival summer in every way, hummingbirds only now trailing away.

The spell of autumn is different, tales of things that come to pass, like Longshot, or custody trials and the ill they weave, decaying in their time.

Though globally, monarch populations continue to decline,  more visited my garden this season than any year prior.

Here is to you Longshot, for the will to live in the toughest of times and the heart to come again in the spring, eternity is yours.

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Perfect autumn day.

On walkabout the landscape is brilliant.  Crystal clear air, forever blue sky, green lush lawns, each tree its own perfect expression.  Every leaf in place.  Pregnant.  Tis’ the season but the fiery palatte of autumn has not arrived.  A secret moment whose arrival is still  known only to the trees.

I thought I heard them whispering, but it could have been the breeze.

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On walkabout, the world appears about as it should, despite the march of the calendar.

A chat with an elderly neighbor, a friendly wave to the trash collector and the UPS fellow.  Leaves changing but weather still warm, dry pebbles working their way out of the roadbed.

The gift of  inconsequence, eternity in the most common moments.  Ordinary is anything but.

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