Oh, the days dwindle down

We’re at the doorstep of autumn, the overnight temperatures cool enough to require an extra cover on the bed. The woodshed is filling, tomatoes strung across the back to ripen against the wall of dry wood. Yesterday I thought our lake swim might be our last for the year (and we went at 10:30, not our usual 8:30) but I think we’ll go out in our little boat today and tie it to a log on the island we’ve always loved and have a final swim around the island. The merganser chicks have long fledged, the cutthroat will be spawning soon.

Last night we drove home late from dinner with friends and saw an owl swoop up from the dark road. It watched us pass from a fir tree. Time to fill the woodbox in the porch, time to watch the crapapple tree for the bear who always comes this time of year to feast on the small scabby fruit. To watch the leaves fall from the cascara and mountain ash just beyond my study. And to watch this young doe browsing in the dry grass.

september song

It always feels a little sad when the season turns. Did I accomplish anything over the summer beyond morning swims and a bit of editing? I saw my family, yes, but miss them this morning and am trying to figure out how to see them sooner rather than later. When we walked over to the mailboxes the other day, the school bus passed and Wendy (who’s driven this leg of the route since my children were small) honked her horn and waved. I almost expected the bus to stop at our driveway and three kids to climb down the stairs, hands clutching watercolours, lunchboxes, a backpack of homework. Time to pull out the basket with the half-finished quilt, time to pickle another half-dozen jars of beans.  To open the sack of daffodil bulbs and think about where to plant them.


Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few
September, November
And these few precious days I’ll spend with you
These precious days I’ll spend with you.

—Kurt Weill/Maxwell Anderson


4 thoughts on “Oh, the days dwindle down”

  1. The cool nights came on quickly this year. So refreshing, but a sign of the winter to come. They’re forecasting another La Nina, which might mean another snowy, rainy winter…

    1. I promised myself that I would never complain about rain again, given the drought conditions here this summer. Snow, rain — so be it! And yes, the cool nights came literally overnight, didn’t they?

  2. Your post makes me feel beautifully nostalgic. I often miss my two young boys and their backpacks full of homework. Heading off on a road trip this morning to visit their grown-man iterations. Enjoy your days of prepping for winter. It’ll be here soon! (By the way, my copy of Euclid’s Orchard arrived in time for me to take it on the road trip with me. Squeeeee!)

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