Mid-September

I was looking through my photographs, searching for inspiration, and this jumped out at me. I recall finding this fern, appreciating the colors this one frond had turned to. It stood out in a sea of green, a perfect snapshot of this time of year: so much living going on, but the signs of fall stand out in sharp contrast against summer’s dominant shades of green. This was taken at least a week ago, and the ferns have changed even more, lowering to the forest floor. Only a month ago they were bursting, and now they are crouching back to the dirt. You can see this change if you look closely, but when you scan the forest and let your eye go far, it’s still all green.

Right now the weather is a perfect blend of the two seasons. The sun is high and hot, and the cicadas continue their drone, though it gets less insistent as the days go by. The sky is a slightly hazy blue, cloudless, but a bright breeze makes sure we all know what is coming. The coolness is still a surprise and a welcome one at that. It takes the burn out of the sun’s glare. It’s very dry, regular for the season, yet the stream still gurgles steadily. It feels like we are in limbo–neither here nor there.

The other night I couldn’t sleep well–I heard coyotes yipping and howling so close, they sounded like they were in the yard. I got up and went downstairs to open the front door, as I was worried about our cat who stayed out. I stared through the screen door for a while, transfixed by the moon through the clouds, so big and bright already and the full harvest moon isn’t until this weekend. I wonder: is this why the coyotes are making such a racket? Is this why the cat is out? Is this why I’m up at 3 a.m.? I wanted to stay outside, but the alarm was set to ring in two hours, so I went back to get what sleep I could.

Notes:

After reading Underland, I needed a bit of escape so I read The Never Ending Story. I never saw the movie, which I’m glad for. I read that the author hated it, which is not surprising. I’m not sure why, but I kept on thinking of The Master and Margarita while I read it. It was the perfect thing to get lost in.

Fresh beans are a fall treat. I have a few rows of Jacob’s Cattle beans and Hank’s Xtra Special Baking beans growing in the garden, so I get to pick a few plants before they are fully dried and have the rare treat that is fresh beans. I do like to dry the rest, though you can store fresh beans in the freezer. This is a good reference on fresh beans. If you don’t grow beans, you can sometimes find them–right now local Story Farms has fresh cranberry beans in the pod, which I couldn’t resist buying. I had them on top of polenta with slow roasted plum tomatoes and a shower of cheese and fresh herbs.

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2 Comments

  1. So nice to get updates from you in this way, Jules. That middle of the night feeling is so compelling. I’ve been sleeping in a tent on the deck a few of these late summer nights — a whole world of owls, coyotes, neighborhood sounds, stars. It’s good to shed the muffling walls sometimes, no? And, as always, I want to eat at your house, inside or out. Astonishing fern, too. XO

    1. Shae, thank you for reading! No doubt your recent posts helped push me in gear. That sounds so nice to be on the deck–I plan on getting at least one more night outside before it gets too cold! XO!

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