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There is one light on the mountain

September 24, 2010

After the past few days of on-again/off-again heat and humidity, we woke up this morning to hear the wind bending oceanic sounds from the trees. It was 70 when I woke up, but a scant few hours later and it is now 55. The wind is still howling.

I love this kind of weather in the fall. All around me, people are complaining about it. Chicagoist proclaims it “dreary,” albeit with a gorgeous photo. And the neighbor I ran into twice on my walk this morning (we were apparently making the same loop in opposite directions, I alone, she with her border collie) was expressing dismay. But just as I like it when, in the spring, the outside is suddenly much more appealing than the confines of the house, I love this time of year when the contrast between indoors and outdoors starts to work the other way.

I take a lot of walks in September and October, and I always come home with things in my pockets. This morning, my pockets were bulging. The wind is throwing down all kinds of things. I had handfuls of capped acorns and shiny horse chestnuts and a couple of apples from the old trees that have lined one of the roads for probably 90 years.

Aside from my neighbor with her dog, there was no one around. The main road to the river is closed to cars while they rebuild the small bridge that crosses the stream, the same stream that flows through our back yard. But the footpath around the pond is still usable, so the whole road is pedestrians only. Further down, they are rebuilding the small wooden bridge that lets pedestrians cross the pond. It’s known around here as “Prom Bridge,” because it doesn’t go anywhere in particular and is used for lots of photos. The new bridge looks much sturdier and ends in a small gazebo. It’s a little too twee for me. It’s not in keeping with the Jens Jensen landscaping. But most of Jensen’s contributions are crumbling and dying now, so perhaps it’s time to move on to another vision. AJ is very interested in the bridge construction, especially because the carpenter doing the work brings his small and skittish black lab to work with him. The dog sleeps in a tight circle next to the truck most of the time, but if you are coming on foot, he may slowly approach you, tail down. If you don’t growl at him, his tail starts to wag and he will sniff circles around you until you pass the carpenter’s truck. Then he will stare you down the road before returning to his tight tail-to-nose curl. The carpenter himself says nothing. He is a small older man in a cap and plaid shirt and overalls. He plays no music. He works methodically and drives the nails by hand. The bridge looks like it could last a hundred years or more.

Up the hill by the pool, I can just see that the water inside is a bright green, one of the few things left in that color now. They are waiting for the chlorine to decay so they can drain it out for the winter. It is past 9 by the time I reach the barn, but the horses are only just coming out. A man I don’t recognize leads the new draft horse, a rescue, I hear, out of the barn and into the corral behind our yard. The horse’s feet are enormous and shaggy.

Back inside, it’s time to cozy up with my editing project and a pot of tea. The wind is still blowing fiercely. But inside, it is warm and dry.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. readersguide permalink
    September 24, 2010 11:31 am

    I love fall.

  2. freshhell permalink
    September 24, 2010 1:04 pm

    The kids always come inside with their pockets filled with collections of things. Red’s big on acorns this year. She brought so many home with her from their last dad-led park venture that I felt bad for all the squirrels. We may need to send them to a squirrel food pantry or something so all the poor squirrels have enough to eat this winter.

  3. freshhell permalink
    September 24, 2010 1:36 pm

    That photo looks like something out of an opening shot of “Planet of the Apes: A New Beginning or Ending, Take Your Pick”

  4. September 24, 2010 1:40 pm

    A Planet of the Apes Choose Your Own Adventure?

  5. freshhell permalink
    September 24, 2010 1:57 pm


  6. Fern permalink
    September 25, 2010 9:56 am

    Do you know the Bunny Planet books by Rosemary Wells? There are three (wonderful) books. In each, a bunny has a rotten day before being shown “the day that should have been.” Your last line reminds me Island Light in which Felix and his father stay warm and cozy during an island squall. “Outside the sea enfolds the sand/Inside I hold my father’s hand.” Glad you got that cozy fall feel without the bad day attached!

  7. September 25, 2010 11:43 am

    I love Rosemary Wells and we read many of her books over and over and over when AJ was small, but somehow we missed those. I’ll have to look for them.

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