Now We Turn Inward

Here we are at the midpoint of the heart-breaking month.

Anyway it’s heart-breaking for those of us in the northern hemisphere, with earth leaning farther and farther back from Sun’s kiss.

It’s heart-breaking because it’s so lovely even as all the growing things begin to die.

We had a soft rain yesterday and Friday and Saturday nights a frost. Yesterday was a reprieve temperature-wise.

Still, I don’t think I got all my houseplants in from the side porch side in time to avoid that below-freezing air on the previous two nights : One of the peace lilies is looking a lot less like a plant that is merely thirsty and a lot more like a sculpture of wilted spinach, trussed so as to stand upright in a pot.

We shall see how it reacts now that it’s inside with the rest of us, for we are inside looking out once again.

I am inside anyway, but I can’t stay away from the windows.

The above picture is from our bathroom window.

The one below it is from the bedroom.

Both look out on a hawthorn tree that grew from a little stick of a thing that I planted in June of 1990 in memory of a young person I loved.

Last September, when one of the young people with whom I now work came to this house for the first time he went right over to the window seat in our kitchen that also looks out on this hawthorn tree, but sees its lower uprising branches instead of its leafy arms.

“If I lived here I’d sit on this window seat all the time!” he said.

Then a second youth who was also present walked over and said, “I would sit here during every snowstorm!”

So perhaps I will do that now myself: I mean sit on that window seat almost a spiritual practice and look out at the what the day has brought me. And perhaps at the very first snowstorm I will go get these two boys so they can come with a lapful of homework and take turns on that window seat, sitting ‘inside’ the branches of this little tree, looking out at winter’s beauty.

But winter’s beauty is for later.

Now we are still very much in beautiful autumn, begging Nature to slow this gorgeous swooning death scene down, even as Robert Frost begged her to do in the poem I borrowed a line or two from last Saturday.

Scroll down beneath the photo to see it and today, rain OR shine , train your gaze outward to catch the ongoing spectacle.


O hushed October morning mild,

Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;

Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,

Should waste them all.

The crows above the forests call;

Tomorrow they may form and go.

O hushed October morning mild,

Begin the hours of this day slow.

Make the day seem to us less brief,

Hearts not averse to being beguiled,

Beguile us in the way you know.

Release one leaf at break of day;

At noon release another leaf;

One from our trees, one far away.

Retard the sun with gentle mist;

Enchant the land with amethyst.

Slow! Slow!

For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,

Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,

Whose clustered fruit must else be lost-

For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

                                                                                                                                             from the Complete Poems of Robert Frost 1916

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