Long, slow slide into winter

I’m busy — go, go, go — but the yard is taking its time fading from its summer vivacity.

Jimmy is in California, so I’ve been doing both the late and the early shift around the house. This morning I drove Grace and George to school early for an optional gym class. When I got back home at 7:20am, I stood in the driveway for a while and stared up at the top leaves of the maple rising above the roof line from the backyard.

The previous two days have been beautiful around Boston; my time has been spent in offices, lecture halls, and labs. The long walk from the parking garage through the main campus and to my office, and then back again at night, I have welcomed. Rain was predicted today, and that the gentle weather still lingers seems akin to finding the last cookie in the box. I am going to stop and enjoy this.

Lydia left for the bus at 7:40am. More coffee tempted me and so did the laptop, but instead I went outside with the camera. The maple habitually persists in holding on to its red leaves, but I know from past years that I’ll wake up one day and the leaves will have been shed all at once, like a dog shaking water from its coat. I also know that someday I won’t live here anymore, and I’ll miss the tree like you miss a friend after they move away.

It turns out there are other fascinations in the yard right now even though growth has slowed or ceased for the year.

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As I stood on the front steps taking a picture of the rotting jack o’ lantern, I heard my name called from down the sidewalk, “Hi, Jane.” My neighbor Susan, all suited up for work and out with her dog, stopped to ask about Eli and his adjustment to college. Her daughter Emma is doing fine at her university, too. We talked too about the beauty of the New England fall, which seems always to coincide with the busiest few months of the year, ending with the exhaustion of Christmas. Susan told me that yesterday she had to go to legislative hearing at the State House and was grateful for being forced, in a way, to take the train and then walk through the Common to get there. Otherwise, the day would have passed her right by.

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