Fall Comes Slowly and a Poem for Clif

Fall is slow to come this year. The weather has been very warm, and although the nights have been cool, there hasn’t been even a hint of frost. The basil is as full and vigorous now as it was in August.

Then there are the leaves on the trees. Judy, on her blog New England Garden and Thread, observed that “the turning of the leaves is going very slowly.” We live quite a bit north of Judy, but the same is true for central Maine. In some trees there is just the slightest tinge of color, but with most trees, the leaves are still green, as the picture below illustrates.


Nevertheless, despite the warm weather and the green leaves, I decided it was time to wash our fall fleeces so that we would be ready when colder weather comes. I love how colorful those fleeces look on the line, and I am always dumbfounded when I hear that certain places have banned clotheslines. I hope I never have to live in such a neighborhood.


Temple dog is still guarding the ragged flowers, but soon I will be going out to cut back the garden, and it won’t be long until there isn’t anything left to shade that little head.


Liam, the yard dog, will supervise, and this is one of his favorite activities. Being a herding dog, he loves to bark and circle the wheelbarrow as I remove the clippings from the garden. Well, we all have our jobs to do, and Liam takes his job very seriously.


Yesterday, in the comments’ section of the post I wrote about Clif’s birthday, our friend Claire Hersom shared a poem in honor of Clif’s special day at the ocean. Claire is such a fine poet, as well as a friend, that I thought the poem needed to come “out front,” so to speak, where more people would read it.

The Edge
Undertow tugs the valley of the next wave
curling it into a crunch that crashes
as loud as gulls low-flying the sand,
screeching for tidbits on our beach blanket.

We walk the shore as if one person,
my pink bonnet to shade my eyes
and you, a seven year old of burnished gold.

You wade in deep tidal pools
fearless of the ocean that runs up the bank,
swoons, then cascades back, never quite
catching sandpipers stuttering along beside
a vastness we barely comprehend.

Our eyes scan the sky at the sea’s blue-white line,
the timbre of our voices swallowed. The wind,
as it did before memory, sings it back,
our red, painted toe nails teetering
on the thin line of discovery.


Many thanks, Claire!

12 thoughts on “Fall Comes Slowly and a Poem for Clif”

  1. Belated happy birthday, Clif! On Sunday morning, there was a true, light frost here at the farm…………..enough on my car to scrape! Very spotty on the grass and fields……….

  2. Thanks for the mention. 🙂 I drove over to Durham this afternoon to pick up some Lady’s Mantle for a project and I saw one tree that had turned. The humidity this morning was over 90% and it has just started to rain. We sure do need some rain. Does Liam make house calls? I’m thinking it would add some laughter to deadheading. 🙂

    1. Judy, you are most welcome. And the rain has come. ‘Tis pouring in central Maine. As for making house calls…Liam would be delighted to bark and herd wherever he goes 😉

      1. Thanks, Judy. We love our dog buddy. That driving rain had headed north. Parts of Portland are flooded. It’s raining hard here in Winthrop, but except for a damp basement, so far, so good. Next we have a hurricane to keep track of. No dull moments!

  3. Nice poem, perfect for your day at the beach.
    The weather has been unusually warm for MA as well, although the red maples are showing, as are the Virginia creeper. I’m okay with having a bit more warm weather! 😉

    1. Yes, indeed, Eliza! I suppose the cold weather will come soon enough. But, as we say in Maine, this weather is wicked weird.

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