It’s the first day after labour day, a warm day after a tempestuous weekend of high winds bending the sunflowers close to the ground. I could do nothing but give them my assurance that the wind would pass. Things are different now. Sleep during the cool nights is easier, unpicked basil is turning yellow, and the rabbits have finally given in and helped themselves to the lettuce. But the squash, melons and cucumbers continue to grow, tomatoes keep ripening and various flowers bloom, though their number, size and intensity of colour is less.
Now, I’m not one to embrace aging (friends insist they are past their best before date when I feel I have yet to reach mine) or even the autumn, regretfully sighing that summer is over. We’ll celebrate autumn soon enough. I sat out in the warm September sunrise this morning, not feeling that sudden jolt that launches school children back into the classroom, with new pens, crisp note books, combed hair and clean ears. Yes, the sun rose a little later, a smidgen farther to the south, but the morning still held its own characteristic magic. A squirrel stood on his hind legs and helped himself to the finally ripening raspberries, before I quietly shushed him, forcing him to boldly climb a sunflower and help himself to the seeds. I had to get my kitchen knife and decapitate the sunflowers (not the squirrel) so that I have some seeds for next year’s crop. Last year the squirrels and bluejays beat me to it.
Yes there is an impulse to want to dig things under, and mulch, and add soil, and flatten the dying and dead stems so that next spring’s garden is that much better, but for now, the in between time, the headless sunflowers, golden grass, and fists full of tomatoes, have their turn before the autumn wind does knock them to the ground, and they freeze to a brown mush. I close my eyes and halt September, let the crickets’ song fill my skull, sparkling inside my brain, punctuated by the far off call of a jay.