Sunday, August 14, 2022

Foreshadowing Fall

 It’s early and quiet, just the sound of distant bird song coming through the open doors, which I opened to let in the 56 degree air. I’m a little chilly and oh, how welcome that sensation is at the waning of a long, hot summer. 

We still have more hot days to go, of course, but this is an early glimpse of what is to come. The horses and pony and donkeys know I’m awake but instead of heading to the barn to come in from the growing heat, they’re lingering in the pasture, enjoying the relief. I noticed yesterday that the shedding of summer coats has begun, yet another foreshadowing of autumn.

Even the cats and dogs, usually ready for breakfast the moment anyone’s feet hit the floor, are drowsing and I think enjoying the cool air not born of an HVAC. It feels different when the farm itself cools down.

In the garden beds goldenrod is coming out, and the deep fuchsia of ironweed. The spotted horsemint is starting to bloom, and asters lie in wait. The dogwood trees are just beginning their tonal shift from bright green to red. The figs are ripening, the wild muscadines readying, and the days are slightly shorter. 

It’s too soon to celebrate, if, like me, the turning of this season is cause, but the glimpse is reason for pause,  to think about the party to come, a reminder that each season has its joys and that life is cyclic. With the change in climate that we know is happening, I am treasuring these seasons even more. 

For me, autumn is a time of deepening colors, crisp air that allows for the easier completion of chores, ideas of big projects on the page becoming more appealing, as if the longer nights fuel creativity and the shorter days add a bit of urgency to the work. 

It’s a time when the horses thrive. The biting insects die out, the horses grow thicker coats, and they seem to love life best when the nights are in the mid-forties. They are more playful, they prefer to be out than in the barn with fans blowing, they lie down in the early morning curled like cats, muzzles resting on the ground. 

I have learned since moving to November Hill that blacks and bays, chestnuts and grays, and one painted little pony look stunning with autumn colors as their backdrop. 

The moment that defines November Hill, a moment when I felt the first impact of our having moved here and claimed this little piece of land, was an early morning in the beginning of November, the first year here, when I walked out to a chilly landscape and saw Keil Bay and Apache Moon cantering down the hill in the front pasture. Between an oak and a cedar tree was a tree trunk that had fallen perfectly, like a cross-country jump, and Keil sailed over it, looking like a mythological horse leaping headfirst into autumn. 

These days he is not doing that kind of leaping, but yesterday, as I brushed him in the barnyard while waiting for his chiropractor to arrive, the lush and perfect color of ripe figs and green leaves behind him made me think of that first year, though the fig tree wasn’t planted yet, and the white hairs on Keil’s face were years away still. 

Every autumn has its perfect moments. Every season has them, but for me the ones in autumn stay with me, markers of the years. 


Grey Horse Matters said...

Autumn is the best season of the year to me. I love the colors and the cooler weather and the horses and humans seem to have more energy and enjoy this season the most.

Just got finished giving them all a shower on the way in. It was 90 and humid today and very buggy. Same for tomorrow so I think we've all got our fingers and hooves crossed that we will have an early Autumn this year.

billie said...

Your farm is so glorious in the falls, based on the photos you’ve shared through the years! I know you must be ready for that this year! It would be so nice if we all got an early autumn. Horses and humans will be happy!

Kathleen said...

Your description of Keil Bay sailing over the fallen tree gave me goosebumps! Such a beautiful image with a backdrop of the coming of fall!
This post, and so many others, reminded me of why I think of you while reading If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Blackie. Your deep connection to November Hill, the animals and especially the horses. Have you read it?
I hope you get some relief from your cold/allergies and continue to enjoy this lovely break from the heat!
Take care, Kathleen

billie said...

No, I have not read it, but what a wonderful thing to get on a Monday - a book recommendation! Have ordered, will read! Thank you so much! I have resorted to taking an otc liquid “cold and flu” concoction today, which I almost never do, but it’s helped and I’m powering through my sessions and now on a lunch break. :) I need to go take a walk around the farm and visit equines, but I don’t have enough time to do that and get back into “professional mode” before the next client, so it will have to wait. But I saw them and called out when making my lunch, so that was a nice if brief connection. :)