When an issue of the magazine goes out in the mail, and everything is settled, there is always a day or two where I am completely at loose ends. Yesterday was one. It's the strangest feeling. Instead of needing to finish this task and move on to that one, there is just the blissful nothingness.
Oh, that isn't to say that the slate is completely empty... there is always something. The hostas and shrubs that stunted my perennials this summer need to be moved to a more suitable place. The vacuum cleaner needs to be run, there are some orders to pack and ship, pack for the kid's upcoming trip and find her passport, a couple of herbal projects that need to be done and photographed for upcoming entries... but yesterday, nothing *needed* to be done. It was just me and the day and time. No sound except the birds and the occasional phone call.
At some point, I grabbed the camera and went for a walk. We are still having day-time temps in the upper 60's and low 70's here, warmest October on record for our region, so it's not easy to find Autumn. It is creeping in like a stealth season. Leaves are drying, seed pods forming, but there are few blazes of color marking the way. It reminded me of exactly the same sort of time period I am experiencing right now. The summer is over, so the mad dash to put out flowers is over, and all of the plants are quietly waiting for the onslaught of cold. I could almost feel them asking, "what are we supposed to do now?"
Outside the door, the wave of pineapple sage is vibrant next to the rust colored mums. Yet amidst the dried vines of the clematis, 3 lonely blossoms venture out, unsure if they belong. The grass is still growing and should probably be cut again. The lemon verbena is in bloom, and the all of the blue and purple sages continue to put on a show. The vitex bushes can't decide whether or not to go completely to seed, or to keep putting out flower spikes, and the passionflower vine that couldn't get its act together until September is still giving a weak showing.
The goldenrod is striking among the rows of trees. All of the yellows, golds, and tans of autumn have their own special beauty, and it is a little different when it has a green background. Of course with evergreens, there is always a green background, but usually it is more two-toned and less full-color.
One row of little sugar maples are knocking themselves out. They didn't get the memo. Alone in the march towards winter, they are the single splash of firey leaves on the trees here. Maybe the spiders whispered to them that fall was here.
There will be a bumper crop of puffballs in the fields next year, judging by the ones that are left from this spring, shooting out spores at the slightest touch. They are so easy to spot in the rows between the trees. Big old softballs and soccer balls made out of mushroom.
The poke plants are all pretty this time of year. The stems have gotten deep magenta, and the berries range in degrees of ripeness (not edible) from inky purple to barely green. This one had all forms, including some blossoms at the very top.
I know autumn will get here one way or another. Winter will follow with the biting winds and cold wet days. Just like I know tomorrow will send me back into the trenches, writing articles, pulling together ads, putting a new page up on the site that gives our advertisers another shot at our readers, and working on a new book. We'll start work on the shop for Frog Hollow Evergreens, and the orders will get shipped. But today is another day to just breathe.