We might reasonably have mistaken the beginning of autumn for a continuation of our dismal summer of rains. But there are signs things are moving toward winter. Here’s one:
The sweetpeas of summer are setting seed pods, readying themselves for next time.
Fall apples are dropping faster than we can cook them into crisps. There are plenty for fresh eating and for sharing with the livestock. William the mule is fond of his morning apple. Here is evidence the little rabbit in the orchard likes her apple a day, too.
It was not I who left all those nibbles on the ground.
On the fringes of the road, while most of the Queen Anne’s Lace has drawn up its petticoat and is ready to scatter itself into the grass:
a few examples are still fresh and hopeful.
It is said the tiny red flower in the center is a drop of Queen Anne’s blood, a prick from her lace-making. Others, imagining less and defining more, believe the red drop of flower is an insect attractant.
Perhaps it can be both.
In the woods, the autumn fungi are appearing again. Their names are far too difficult for me to work out. It doesn’t matter whether these are welcome at the table.
Their delicacy of color and shape nearly escapes description.
Some are best viewed from ground level.
Some from above.
In our barn I found a cast feather. This one, I believe, is from an owl, probably an owl taking care of rodent business in the nighttime barn.
And this, from the edge of the woods, a crow:
A Steller’s Jay (When I was small, I thought these were called Stellar Jays, because they were so beautiful):
And this, from near a small carcass in the field, a Turkey Vulture:
We might think of these birds with loathing but without them and others of their ilk, we would soon be knee deep in decaying corpses. I looked up one day and saw the owner of this feather. A vulture lingered on the air, clearly missing a primary feather from its span.
Even with all this appearance of fungi in the woods, this dropping of seeds and feathers about the farm, it’s notable that not everything is getting ready to shut up shop for the fall season. We remember that fall is breeding season on the farm. Soon we’ll bring the ram to his ewes. And here we have, oh dear, someone who has found the day just right for love:
This, my friends, is slug love. I share it only so you won’t be deceived that everything around here is lovely and lyrical.
It might, however, be sweeter than we believe if we could listen in to the cooing going on in that embrace. Who am I to say what poetry one slug sings to another?