“That time of year…”

morning bouquet

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang. (Shakespeare, Sonnet 73)

How everything shifts — the weather (our drought ended with torrential rain, wind…), the light, the things that call for daily attention. Most years it would still be summer, and maybe it is, but it’s so much cooler than even a week ago. When I go out to gather kale for my morning smoothie, my feet in flip-flops are cold and wet when I come in. Luckily John lights a fire in the woodstove when he comes down to make coffee. (There’s almost nothing that tells me where I am like the smell of woodsmoke and dark French coffee. )Tomatoes ripen in their sheltered location under the eaves on the second-story deck. The young bear walked by again this morning, pausing to eat grass on the south side of the house. Like us, he (or she) is waiting for the salmon runs to begin. Time to put plastic over the cucumber boxes at night, time to tidy the garden and keep the beans picked (and pickled).

Time to think of the larger world too, the Syrian refugees waiting at train-stations, on the edges of dark water with makeshift rafts, precarious boats, for other countries to open their borders, their hearts. Our particular government baffle-gabs and pontificates while the image of a drowned child washed up on a beach asks us to question our own inaction. I don’t have a solution but I want to part of one. So many of us are the legacy of grandparents or great-grandparents who left their own countries in difficult times and this country made it possible for what came after — our stable lives, the lives of our children.


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