Fall is progressing. Here, the early leaves turn a dull brown several days to weeks before the brilliant colors come. And the brilliant colors are short-lived if the wind and rain are persistent. Already the colors are starting to disappear as each leaf tears away.
We’ve been busy with maintenance for the winter. Up on the roof, we did our yearly patching. It is kind of fun to climb up and look around, to slather tar. We come down and clean our hands with gasoline. It burns, but wears the tar right off. This year I took the camera and snapped a few pictures from up on high.
When we came down, J fixed a chip in my windshield which was sending out little creeping cracks. It is nearly completely gone now. I went out to drain the pool. All of the tadpoles have been relocated. Somehow we got every single one in the last trip, the day it was cold and we worked in our coats, water running down our sleeves.
I began the process of gathering seed for next year. Basil and dill, zinnia and echinacea. I stripped away the seeds with my bare hands and got many tiny, painful cuts.
We went on a walk on the day the weather began to rebound from a cold snap and our first light freeze, early even for an early date. We saw five small snakes, but only one was alive, laying in the road and hoping for a little warmth. We shuttled him off into the weeds. The next day we found two more little bodies. On a recent run, as we came up Heartbreak Hill, two deer bounded across in front of us, one each time I happened to look up. I am off the circuit again, a nagging hamstring issue as I get used to the sandals.
Flocks of starlings have started to gather. True they are invasive, but I find them fascinating and beautiful. I love to go out when they’re filling the trees. They chatter like kids until, on some mutual signal, they all take off at once and there is an almost silence where the only sound is the muffled beating of thousands of wings. Then they mass in the sky, splitting into groups, reforming, landing again to visit. Eventually, slowly, they move off toward the horizon, one flock taking the lead, then the next. The area always feels empty when they are suddenly, finally gone.
This morning we awoke and lingered in bed, sharing the warmth. As we dozed lightly, a woodpecker landed beside the bedroom window and tapped out a little wake up call, sampling the wood. He was gone by the time I could sneak to the window, so I ran back and jumped into the covers again.
A couple of days after the cold, a gradual warming began. A day after the snakes, I opened the front curtain to see the landscape moving and crawling. The Asian lady beetles were out en masse, all over the house, all over the country here. They are brownish orange and look like lady bugs.
They immediately began trying to make their way inside. I’d forgotten how annoying they are, landing on us when we can’t fight back. They bite and emit an odor if provoked, but they are the aggressors. They get in our hair, our food. They make a sound like mice when they bump the ceiling tiles. Mostly we leave them be. They hang around in the shower, have to be rescued from drowning. We don’t bother to try to put them out. There are simply too many of them. They’ll share our space until summer, then we’ll be cleaning up their bodies for months.
The spiders understood the change as well and they are racing the lady beetles for entry into the house. They are massive beasts, with hairy brown bodies and glittering green eyes. Them we do catch and send back out the bedroom window. Sometimes they will walk right up and look at us. I’ll feel one watching me and look down. Hi! Hi little spider!