Monday, October 11, 2010

In October

I keep sleeping late; went to bed at 9:30 pm., woke up at 8 am.
I just lie in bed listening to the radio, NPR. Jimmy is downstairs at least by six and I am up here flat upon the bed at eight.

I got up while he was out; two tortillas, crisped in the frying pan and slathered with jam -- wild blueberries and cranberries from Maine -- and rolled up like blini, coffee from Sumatra...

The crossword and then the funnies. How do other people survive without the comics? Today Nancy and Sluggo were talking about the autumn leaves again. Her face was a mask of anger when she asked him what he was going to do about them, all piled up in front of his falling down house and against his neighbors’ fences. Sluggo just shrugged. Does he ever get angry?

“Margaret are you grieving over golden grove unleaving?... ...It’s the blight that man was born for It is Margaret you mourn for.” Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1870

This year the fall has cut me more deeply than ever before. I am getting older. But might it be because I have grown more vegetables this summer and because the summer heat has lingered for so long, stretching out the harvest season.

It has been so dry; no rain for a month at least. Yesterday I planted pansies along the walk and the dirt was hard and rock-like in places. I pulled up the dried out zinnias and the overgrown vinca from the plot nearest the front door and planted the extra pansies there. I also trimmed the yellow leaves from the two cherry tomato vines, heavy with green fruit, and re-staked them. Still they are roping upwards through the Parrotia tree with many yellow blossoms on the new growth. I watered them well for the first time in a week or two.

I think this is the first time I have experienced autumn as such a time of transition, anticipating the first frost as a sort of apocalypse waiting just around the corner. It must be the farmer’s soul incubating within me, this concern about the harvest. And then, because the warm days -- after a very short and mild cold spell -- just keep going on, the tension continues. And it keeps building.

I brought in all the tomatoes on the eastern side of the condo, but have left the western side alone. I did pull up my tiny crop of sweet potatoes there (I planted them too late), but the volunteer tomato plants are still growing and bearing though the green fruit are slow to ripen. Counting the two cherry tomato plants in the front, I have at least 10 vines in the ground and will let them go until another frost threatens.