Fall, a Time of Subtraction

The ragged garden
The ragged garden

Today is cool and brisk and breezy. Too chilly, I fear, for lunch on the patio, but a very good day for hanging laundry. The hummingbirds seem to be gone for the season, and I am reminded, yet again, what a time of subtraction fall is as various birds head for warmer places For many birds, fall is the time for the great migration, and how far some of them travel. The birding community is agog with this seasonal occurrence, and dedicated birders find migration flyways where the birds group en masse as they go south. Casual birders like me note the comings and goings in our backyards and bid a sad farewell to the summer birds.

This time of year, the gardens are ragged—there is no other word for it. There is a burst of pink here, a sliver of red there, but nothing is really in bloom, and its lovely days are mere July and August memories. But the finches are still cheeping and the males are still bright yellow and the bees are still working what’s left of the bee balm. Grasshoppers jump from tattered leaf to tattered leaf, and the crickets’ songs are loud and sweet.

With its deep blue skies and sunny days, September in Maine is beautiful, and I am glad it is my birth month. I especially love the nutty smell of the various wild plants as they go to seed. The days are still long enough for bike rides when Clif comes home from work. I make sure that vegetables are chopped so that dinner goes together lickety-split when we return at 7:00 or 7:30. The night before, it was turnips and potatoes for patties, and there was fresh homemade bread and green beans to go with the patties. This afternoon, I’ll put chicken, potatoes, and carrots in the slow cooker, and a hot meal will be waiting for us after a cold ride.

This weekend, we are planning our annual Hallowell to Richmond ride, an event I always look forward to. We’ll probably go on Sunday, and I’ll bring my camera so that I can take pictures as we bike along the Kennebec River.

We are nearly half-way through this lovely month, and the next event I eagerly anticipate is the making of apple pies with crisp, fall apples. I’ve already found a couple of people who would like some pie—a whole pie is simply too much for Clif and me. Who knows? Maybe I’ll find some more people who would like pie, and I can make three or four of them.

I do like making apple pies.