What You Will Not Find Here

You will find no advertising, no pop-ups, no tweets. Not even photographs, let alone a slide show. Nothing here will be moving fast. It will hardly be moving at all. Visit when you want a break from frenzy.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Day 31 Outdoors: Among the Pioneers

Thursday, October 25, 2012, 8-9 a.m.

Came the wind in the night and blew the leaves off maple trees and lindens. (Ash and walnut were already bare; catalpa yet in leaf.) Wind continued as the sky grew light, glowing rose in both east and west. Ribbons of cloud over the eastern woods now turn from pink to pewter grey.

A band of hardy little popples venture out from the bank above the stream, seeking to colonize the meadow, along with a few small cottonwoods and two or three autumn olives that escaped the spring purge. Among the grasses, purple asters, milkweed, and Queen Anne’s-lace are also the much-less-welcome spotted knapweed. This is how it is with any invasion of pioneers: all sorts pour in.

The wind arrives in a series of gusty, irregular waves. Each wave begins first as a far-off drone, rising to a dull roar, and then becoming at last a whispering and rattling and clattering in the closest leaves and grasses. The air feels as soft and fresh as early summer, but its perfume is that of fall, dense with mould and rich with decay. Milkweed seeds escape their pods and chase about, catching on other weeds like bits of wool at the edge of a sheep pasture, fluttering incessantly.

Is that a bird in the willows? A quarrelsome squirrel? The sound goes on and on. Perhaps it is the rubbing of wind-tossed branches. The willows, their heights gradually lighted by the rising sun, toss heavy-leafed branches about like wild horses nodding and shaking heavy-maned heads.

Somewhere out of sight a flock of Canada geese passes overhead. The old farmhouse and barns watch over the meadow with stoic calm. They have seen many autumns.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Day 30 Outdoors: Edge of Cornfield

Wednesday, October 3, 1:30-2:40 p.m.

Field corn harvest has begun around the township, but many fields still hold standing corn, since the drier it is when harvested, the less energy will be required to dry it later. It’s a lovely sight, these tall plants of domestic gargantuan grass with giant, graceful leaves that turn from deep green to bright gold and then gradually become more and more pale as their moisture evaporates in autumn wind and sun. This field is bordered on the south and west by woods, on the east by newly tilled ground, and it faces cherry orchard rows to the south across the road. On a clear, blue-sky day with no farm machinery at work in the fields nearby and no RVs interrupting the stillness, a day with the barest breeze stirring the paper-dry leaves, the cornfield is a peaceful place. A few flies, a distant crow....

Many ears of corn along the outer edges of the field are missing kernels. The work of deer? Raccoons? Crows? Bright yellow kernels contrast sharply with their dark, dry red cradle, colorful botanical teeth in a richly painted but dessicated jaw.

Two uprooted stalks lie akimbo in the dust of the road, golden teeth spilled onto dirt. How long will it take for scavengers to find and devour these easy pickings?