Scrub fields, blue sky, and the last of the autumn leaves. Winter’s not here, but he’s looking out from these grey-soon woods and testing the air.
All our efforts cannot even succeed in reproducing the nest of the tiniest little bird, its contexture, its beauty and convenience; or even the web of the puny spider.
—Michel de Montaigne, “Of Cannibals” (and re:)
The neighbouring village had a temporary stoplight for a few weeks as road crews did some work on the bank of the river. Seeing as how the village is a sleepy, stop-signs-only kind of place, the change—I could get caught by a red light! Grrrr!—felt big time and sophisticated, especially since the light wasn’t around long enough to actually become annoying.
Stopped one day last week on my way home, I stared out over the fields rather than at the river. My mind was wandering around elsewhere, and so I only realized how beautiful the scene was as the signal flipped to green. There were cars behind me, but I grabbed my phone and snapped a quick pic before taking off.
And no one honked.
The woods on Mont St. Hillaire have darkened and dulled to the hard green of late summer. They are ready now to crack apart into the bright yellow and brilliant orange of Fall. And so it is in the fields below.
The hay has been cut, the scrub tilled under, the manure thrown down. Dry corn rustles in the breeze, and here and there, lime has been spread across freshly turned soil, dusty and white, an early echo of late autumn snow.
In my neighbor’s garden, tomatoes dangle from the leafless stalks of wilted plants, gloriously fat and gloriously red. A pumpkin vine, clutching a trellis, props improbable fruit high into the air.
And the ducks fly overhead. And the river runs cool and clear.
The weeds in the garden have been growing, and after several days of hot sun, the tomatoes, cabbages and all the rest need a drink. So after mowing the grass, I pull out the young thistles and the worst of the clover and then hose everything down.
The shower spilling from the nozzle cools the air and coaxes a rainbow from hiding. A river feeds the spigot. Bright beads of water skip and race across waxy cauliflower leaves. I dip my hand in the pattering spray, wipe the back of my neck. Beneath it all, the cracked ground laps up its muddy brew.
The sensible beauty of this moment is astonishing.
It’s spring. The snow is melting away. The sky is clear. The air is warmer. Posting is slow, but last weekend, I started turning my garden and cleaned out the lilac hedge. The wild roses need to be moved soon or I’ll have to wait until next year.
The snow geese have started flying over too, wave after wave of them, picking their way together to wherever it is they are going. Some of them spent Sunday night in the corn fields out back.