First Frost and Falling Leaves

We had our first hard frost last night. Our herb, tomato, and pepper plants are tucked under blankets for the second night in a row. Earlier this evening, when I snipped some sage for tonight’s savory polenta, the scent of spearmint poured out from under the covers. The sweet smell of summer seemed rather out of place this chilly evening, but I was grateful to still be able to smell its lingering fragrance.

The leaves are falling from the trees, and there are probably more leaves on the ground now than remain clinging to the branches. Usually the last week of October brings a cool gust of wind that forces the rest to the ground. So the colors this week are cherished. The ground is covered with curled, dry, faded leaves that crunch underfoot, and we are keenly aware that autumn’s remaining colors won’t last. The patches of color in the landscape shrink and become more mature and muted each day. Therefore, experiencing what remains of the autumn colors has been the most important thing of all lately; I’ve immersed myself in the brilliance every day by taking walks along the river, going to parks, and visiting my favorite riverside cemetery.

Being in the cemetery reminded me:

One afternoon this week, after an abrupt change in plans, I ended up walking along a river trail as the sun began to set. Normally, I wouldn’t have been there at that particular time of day. But I’m so glad I was because the colors were magnificent.

Some trees were already mostly bare. Silhouetted against the sunset, they were graceful sculptures previewing winter’s potential.

Another afternoon, I took a detour en route to an appointment and walked through Congress Park in downtown Saratoga Springs.

And then there were the trips to Saratoga Spa State Park to collect drinking water.

 

What a beautiful world we inhabit in October! I am as intent on gathering images as the squirrels are on gathering acorns.

As the temperature drops and the colors of autumn begin to fade, we turn our attention to sunrises and sunsets, knowing that’s where we will find color during the next five months.

Another day begins with whispers of rose and lavender, low tangerine glow, eyes that see it, and a heart that fills with the colors of a new day. Tuesday was overcast, but the sunrise colors glowed nonetheless.

Yesterday while driving to work, I marveled at a cloud that was half painted with rainbow. It was only the cloud – not the sky – and it was so awesome (and yet subtle) that I wished I’d left a few minutes earlier so I could pull over and capture it. But it’s a memory in my heart and reminds me to keep my eyes open and pay attention.

For the magic moment can arise at any time, and every day is a treasure hunt.

Each morning, I wake up and wonder what I will find today.

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