It is just before 4:00 on a windy afternoon in autumn, the kind of windy day where two hundred foot tree tops wave back and forth against a semi-cloudy blue sky, the kind of windy day that causes leaves to shush most of mankind’s back ground noise into the distance, the kind of windy day that turns the descending sun into stars of light that peak through the tree branches.
Chickadees come close to the feeder and scold me for sitting on my deck and interfering with their peaceful snacking, but quickly give up and steal a sunflower seed and fly away to a tall oak at the edge of the yard where they pummel it against a branch until the sweet meat is released and like small children they come again and again.
The noise of the wind rises and falls and clouds up in the sky slowly grow from misty white lace to cotton balls that link to form a downy comforter slowly hiding the blue blanket. I keep thinking that some type of big vista music should be building in the background to accompany this fall change in weather.
The turkey vultures that look so raw and ugly on the ground have become brown feather kites waltzing in the air, dancing so gracefully with each gust that they have been transposed to sky dancers. They sweep and fall and no longer seem part of this earth. I am the ugly grounded being.
Brown dry leaves dance at my feet as the wind pushes them across the deck. They claw and scratch but their time is done. They soon will become soil and feed another plant in the spring. Now they are old and veined and torn in places reminding me of myself. I was once young and lime green and full of the sun’s energy.
A small tuft of a groundsel tree seed is caught in the table top struggling to be released on the important journey of regeneration. The wind continues to bring whispers of winter hurrying me along to collect buckets of kindling, to split more wood and to inhale deeply the warm air before it is gone.
Everything remains such a luxurious green that the season is still cloaked in deceptive costume. We have had the rains that made the plants think the change in season was not coming. Even the fescue has re-emerged to hide the healthy crab grass and we can walk once again on soft velvet. But the wind is like a mother's hands shooing her children on their way home before nightfall.
None of us know how many of these moments are left for us, so I savor each one. I study and listen and smell the beginning of autumn as it opens the door to begin its starring role.