We picked the last apples, departed Minnesota September 5th, and arrived back home a week and a day later. The fields are streaked gold and copper, the fringes of trees are yellowing, the sumac is lit. Clover burst into final blooms. The light slants. The wind shifts.

I brought home a pumpkin and baked an apple crisp. My hoodie and beanie feel stiff after a summer long siesta, but my socks slip deliciously onto my feet like foot cocoons. My toes are little moth larvae who do not like the bite of crisp air, not one bit. Goodbye til spring. Sleep tight.

Cinnamon and curry spice fill the house. Soup recipes resurface. I itch to sort the basement and the garage and the pantry, simultaneously. Fall cleaning falls upon me (or autumn ought’em?). A sudden urge to stack wood strikes. Instead I stack books and brush the dust off my craft stash. All summer I washed my hands with the cold water knob, but now I have to retrain myself to reach for the hot water knob. For months I would groan at the sight of 80+ degrees in the forecast; in the blink of an eye I gasp at anything below 65. Winter cometh.

Colorado gave us three seasons in a week: summer, winter, spring. As well as fire-haze, ash-dust, sleet, snow, sky-blue sunshine, drives, hikes, geocaches, gravesites, photos, meals, masks, late night games, a family a wedding and a song. When we left it was high summer, the merest hint of turning in the air; we returned to drying fields and dropping temps. The day we came home I expected to dive into work on appraisals while juggling homeschooling and writing only to find the previous arrangement was temporarily on hold: a welcome reprieve. A rest. A pause. A breath.

This weekend we’ll build a bonfire and toast summer’s end.

For how to the heart’s cheering
The down-dugged ground-hugged grey
Hovers off, the jay-blue heavens appearing
Of pied and peeled May!

Now burn, new born to the world,
Double-natured name,
The heaven-flung, heart-fleshed, maiden-furled
Mid-numbered He in three of the thunder-throne!

“The Wreck of the Deutschland” by Gerard Manley Hopkins

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