First day of fall

Summer’s gone by the wayside.

Night will be longer than day for the next six months, and even the days will be colder.

But, as a better poet than I once wrote, well, you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool by making his world a little colder.

So how do I avoid such foolishness?

Listen to the wind chimes. I hung them under the window to remind me of music every time the breeze blows.

Pet the dog, who just walked over and sat by my side. “Every dog is an emotional support dog,” said the internet meme, and she reports for duty every morning, even when her body language tells me she herself is melancholy. I suppose I am her emotional support human.

Sit in the sunshine while we have it. Maybe I’ll go out front to the rocking chairs.

(On the front porch now …)

Of course my first thought is that only one chair is occupied, a constant reminder of loss, and I chastise myself. I have always been comfortable and even happy to have alone time. Perhaps I chastise myself in part for seeking alone time when I had a perfectly perfect companion to spend time with. Perhaps I chastise myself for leaving my canine companion indoors, but the cool breeze reminds me that the days to sit in the sun comfortably are dwindling. This temperature is pretty darn perfect, but when it gets below freezing, well —

And now the sun tucks itself behind the clouds. Still, it’s nice out here — why didn’t we sit here more often? Oh, the highway noises, and the garden that needs tending, and the general resistance to standing still. Always always work to be done and doings to do — how much of it is important when all is said and all is done?

Although — how do we even know what is important until later? How do we know what is important, here inside, until someone outside tells us how much it meant? And we reply, “Was it that? Why, thank you, that’s good to know,” because honestly, we didn’t know at the time.

Blasts of orange are growing among the green trees on the other side of the highway — bursts of red atop the sumac trees in the side yard — and the afore-mentioned cool breeze — all point to the changing of the season, if the calendar hadn’t already mentioned it. I savor the green, always my favorite color. “What’s your favorite color, Warren?” the kindly adult would say, and child me would cry, “Green!” Green, the color of life, although come to think of it, there are few green live animals. Frogs — praying mantises — do any animals have green fur? Not this shade of green, the vibrant green of trees and grass and oh how peaceful dancing in the breeze.

It won’t be too very long before it’s all slate gray for awhile, but wait, and wait, and the green will return, for most of us.

My wise companion said with a smile as she worked the dirt, “I don’t know how many gardens I have left,” and perhaps she sensed it was the last one. She would not be pleased with this year’s garden, although the weeds flowering yellow and white and purple have not been unattractive, at least not to me. Next year, next spring — assuming I am granted another year and another spring — I will attempt to find the joy she felt digging in the dirt and making more beauty.

And now the sun is just a streak of promise behind the clouds, and I ought to be getting on with the doings of the day.

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