The Fullness of Fall


The wind is obstinate today; defiant, testing our limits. It’s slamming half-open doors with a sudden might. It’s trying the patience of dedicated farmer’s market vendors, as they tie their tents to their trucks and weigh down the corners with heavy wares. It’s blowing legions of dead leaves across freshly raked lawns. It’s huffing and puffing like it really wants to blow the houses down.

This is the end of a week of weather extremes. We started out this mid-October span with a heat wave that teased of summer, with sunlight streaming in so bright it seemed to heat us from the inside out. The skies were clear and blue, a cerulean expanse leaving so much room for the sun and moon to dance from one end to the other.

By midweek, summer was again dimming as the cool air came in with a fury. We wrapped sweaters tight around ourselves and rushed from door to door. Where once hovered that endless stretch of azure, now clung a thick grey, wet and foreboding. Rain threatened at every pass.

And then came this wind. Getting out of the car last night, even the birds seemed perturbed: what seemed like hundreds of birds were raising a raucous as they climbed into the evening sky, fighting against the gusts of unrelenting wind. They didn’t seem to know where they were going, only that it was time fly, time to retreat.

We’re full into fall. It’s beautiful and chaotic, billowy and swirling. The leaves are dying; the trees preparing for winter. The squirrels and chipmunks are desperate, gathering and burying their stores as quickly as can be. All manner of mammals are getting thicker as warm, winter coats grow in to keep out the chill.

The world is multi-hued. Round orange pumpkins, big and small, dot porches. Some trees are still holding their leaves, stubborn in grasping the last bit of life: wild yellows and bright greens, burnt peach and dark, deep reds.

I am inside today, reading and reading and reading, stuck in the long middle section of a grad school semester. Outside, my husband is hard at work, mowing and raking, trimming and pruning, cleaning out gutters and pulling big piles of leaves and brush up the hillside. He calls me out to watch as a big buck walks peacefully through the yard, just above our garden, short little antlers topping his velvety head. He doesn’t seem to see us, or care. We are no threat to him.

The smell of smoke from the fire pit is wafting in through the screen door from the back, beckoning me out to the patio to sit in the warmth of its heat and take in the colors around me. So I do, and we rest in the glow of the campfire and chat about projects done and projects to do. Owning a house often feels like a long cycle of projects, inside and out. In this season, we clear leaves and chop firewood. In the next, we’ll shovel snow and work inside. As spring comes, we’ll plant grass and restring the lights over the patio. In summer, we’ll mow the grass and tend the garden. Then we’ll start the cycle again.

It’s not just owning a house that cycles on repeat. It’s all of life really: the twilight and the nighttime, the morning and the midday. It’s the dying and the waiting, the birthing and the living. We’re in the twilight, the dying, the last burst of color before the mourning before the morning. 

4 thoughts on “The Fullness of Fall

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