love to autumn

Today was one of those ridiculously gorgeous fall days: blustery, wind sending leaves skittering across roads; a blue sky with wisps of cloud, a background to a warm sun; a just-cool-enough-for-sweaters-and jeans kind of day. And things are finally drying out after all the rain...and yet I found (and chose to walk) one of the soppiest cow paths through the woods, to my gardens. The path was glorious in its filthy, muckiness and solitary shade.

We seem to think of fall as the dying season, where things are packed up and put away, set aside to be rationed out in the winter; and yet today's walk was proof of all that is still thriving and present. While the gardens are sad shells of their former glory, I focused instead on the mossy hill, the scent of wild mountain thyme, crushed and almost palatable in the very aroma rising from under my feet. I snuffed at handfuls of it, interspersing the smell with deep draughts of the fresh farm fall air. I walked the hill--where months before blueberries swelled and ripened--to find fat, blushing raspberries at my disposal. I walked through the remnants of Farmer MacDonald's garden, searching for survivors, and was rewarded with nearly 20 of the most beautiful green and chocolate peppers. I searched amongst the felled giants that were once my tomatillo plants and found about 30 worth the taking and piled those too. Looking at my mounded bounty I had to smile remembering the squirrels I'd seen packing things away too.

Days like today with its thyme, its mucky path, its amazing sky, its birds fighting against the blustery breeze, its dancing leaves, its surprises amongst the dying vines--these are the days which I I lock away and hope to revisit throughout my life. These are the days when I feel such deep gratitude for the Farm and for my life here. And here is a poem that like Frost's "October," always comes to me at this time of year:

"To Autumn"

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, 
  Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless 
  With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees, 
  And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; 
    To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells 
  With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees, 
Until they think warm days will never cease,
    For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? 
  Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, 
  Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep, 
  Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
    Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep 
  Steady thy laden head across a brook; 
  Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
    Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? 
  Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, 
  And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn 
  Among the river sallows, borne aloft
    Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; 
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; 
  Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
  The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft, 
    And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
--John Keats


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