Here I am at the tipping point of the season, a time when I often feel off balance. The leaves are turning but except under some of the stressed street trees have yet to blanket the ground with that dry, crackling quilt of color. There has not been a hard frost yet, so the two lone basil plants left in the garden continue to tempt their fate, but as for the rest it is time to pull up stakes and rotate compost out of one pile so leaves can go in their stead.
I do not linger at these times. I'd rather get on with it, drain the nut brown glories of the season to their very dregs. If it must be Fall, let phalanxes of wild geese cry in exultation. Let the swamp maples prolong their crimson riot and sugar maples blaze orange glories against a bright blue sky. I want clean bracing air and the aroma of wood smoke and the rustle of musty leaves. Bring on the squash soup and sweet cider, and more varieties of apples than there are days in October.
Yet every year I think the color pales in comparison to rose-tinted memory. Not for me the dull yellows and pale greens of a half-hearted forest. Time enough for the stoic russet oaks and bare gray limbs in the wind. If the long night approaches, it is time for finales, not funeral marches. Let the mountains wear their hoarfrost like a crown and not a shroud. Let the autumn revels admit no revenant before Hallow's Eve, and none thereafter.
"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
- Dylan Thomas