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Waving Farewell To Summer

People told me, when I first unpacked in Water Valley, that all four seasons came here, and although winter was shorter than in the North, it sometimes brought a little snow. During those early days in town, disoriented and bewildered, I barely noticed changes in the landscape.

However, moving through my second year as a Long Island transplant, somewhat settled and familiar with my new world, I notice more.

For example, squawking geese travel overhead hurrying out of town ahead of advancing cold fronts. The geese serve a bit like the old telegraph man riding his bicycle through town bringing news of change.

While a few mornings have required wool socks and a muffler, the wide porch still provides enough shelter to drink coffee and watch summer leave. Many autumn days the sky is a solid, heavy gray and the trees rattle uneasily in the gusts of passing winds. Change, even of the seasons, brings unrest.

Golden leaves from the old pecan tree rain down, catching along the driveway, hiding the red stone path leading from the car to the house, piling up in drifts over the newly planted red tulip bulbs, asleep until spring. 

Winter greens encouraged by much needed rain form a pattern of blue green kale and soft green mustard in the neighboring garden. The fig trees shed their leaves with the first touch of frost, the yellow ribbons now hang limp and forlorn, no longer needed to shoo the birds. 

The pear tree flashes red and looks nearly on fire when catching the late day sun. The privet, the bane of the azalea beds, makes up for its perverse ways with sprays of small green berries for the living room.

A blue jay, a year-round tyrant and thrill seeker, dives here and there, keeping order from a high, bare limb. The field mice are migrating towards the house, everyone trying to get in under one roof before the approaching cold.

A hummingbird appeared late this morning searching for breakfast. The remains of butterfly weed and dry stems of blue salvia offered only a Spartan menu and the tiny bird spun away, looking for a more satisfying buffet.

Flies show up indoors in a confused and lethargic state; people say this is part of fall in Water Valley. In between typing up my transplant thoughts, I fire away with a spray can of deterrent and swing fiercely with a swatter. Rumor has it that the flying-red lady bug looking creatures lay in wait and will be moving in soon.

The season adjusts, and we all adjust.

Pumpkins replace watermelons in metal trailers bouncing through town. Flighty temperatures create chills and colds are being reported along Main Street. The furnace kicks on early some mornings; a walk now needs sleeves, one day even a vest and mittens.

As the light leaves the sky to the arrival of early darkness, lights come on in the houses along Lafayette Street. Soup made with Yvonne Shields’ purple-hulled peas, and Beau Kimes’ baby kale cooks on the back of the stove. The last blooms of nasturtium and dark-faced pansies line the kitchen windowsill. A notepad stays on the counter for a growing Christmas gift list.

Special satisfactions come with waving farewell to summer and waiting for winter in a new place, in a still new adventure. 

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