Sunday, October 31, 2010


I sit on the terrace under the pergola in the dying light.  It’s mid-October and we’ve already had the first snow.  I am loathe to relinquish this season, which is why I am sitting here watching the sky darken from color to black and white while the three-quarter moon is only thinly veiled by these ominous and lightly raining clouds.  The coyotes up the hill have been active.  They tune their voices, a series of scales and arias, like musicians at the piano.  It is too dark and too wet now for me to continue planting roses in the new beds.  I have come in from the rain to bring in pillows from the two wicker chairs and the outdoor settee, but I can’t quite bring myself to come inside.  The roof on the balcony above the pergola keeps me dry and I am momentarily shuttled back to the heat of summer and late night dinners spent at the long dining table here set with old china and candles.  I am reminded of another pack of wild dogs who so obligingly howled at the full Sturgeon moon back in August when we ate roast duck finished in a rose syrup I made from the old Bourbon roses in our garden.  That night began with oysters and finished with ripe, succulent peaches poached in wine.  So many long dinners had here under this pergola, and lazy lunches snuck between rigorous hours in the garden and vineyard.  What’s the point if we can’t break the day with a glass of wine and a simple dish? 

But October has another kind of narrative.  After such a dry summer, we’ve been hounded by wind and rains.  We feel lucky that the grape harvest was so early.  We’ve avoided frost, and even that snow two days ago only taunted never really hitting the ground.  But I’ve noticed the past two mornings that the nasturtium leaves have started to curl and shrivel, and the campion that had started to march through the vineyard is all brown husk.  The vine leaves too have started to color or curl or fall, the green stems turning woody just like they should.  But there are roses still blooming and making buds, and the ice pansies I have planted defy the end of season looking bright and sunny in their small pots or the edge of the vegetable beds. 
Tonight, as if in preparation for tall tales or rememberances of things past, the black silhouettes of the grapevines climbing up the pillars of the pergola look sufficiently derelict as if I am outside a house which has been allowed to go wild with rose bushes and vines obscuring it.  I can hear Caleb in the recently expanded green house shoveling and moving things in the dark.  I’m sure he can’t see either, but he’s covered from the rain so will keep working until the light is really impossible.  It makes it easy to pretend that the season, like this light, will linger. 

1 comment:

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