'Attention please!' they seem to shout. 'Wake out of your stupor and watch closely.' For no matter our own personal circumstances at this moment, nature, stepping to its own cadence, is advancing toward the closing sequence of the piece.
A scant week later, the Morning Glories, which have been slowly but steadily twining up every fence post, rose bush, and dead stalk in the garden, open into fantastic, impossible colors to adorn the dewy mornings with velvet and light.
All the vegetables have been harvested and are tucked away for the winter months. The second crop potatoes are six inches tall before you even notice they are up. Tomatoes once again set fruit and race the remaining days to ripen.
Chives, unchanged all Summer long, suddenly sport tall, white orbs of garlic scented blossom, their second bloom of the year, brightening the air above weary, weedy herbs and leggy Marigolds. Purslane and Lantana are in full bloom despite the heat, riots of neon colors that spill out of garden boundaries and across paths.
The rose bushes, most elegant of Springtime ladies, stand tattered and torn, with insect-scalloped leaves and dead-heads aplenty. They are beaten, gone to earth, awaiting cooler days.
You leave for a couple of days, gathering with family perhaps, resting, and when next you walk through the gardens, these dazzling dames greet you with a wave, a wink and a "Hello, Sweetie. Remember me?"
Praise everything that's Holy!
Ring the bells!
Sound the trumpets!
Bang the pans, large and small!
The season has leaned toward Autumn, the earth at last tilting away from Summer's searing embrace. Many evenings bring an almost cool breeze along with the first stars and that sweet, thin smile of a moon in the West. Shoulders relax, breath comes more easily, the meadow grasses, short and tall alike, set seed amid a flurry of small, white butterflies.
Let us press on, gardeners all, and see if we can't bring this season to a close with some shred of dignity. There is still work to be done in this particular window, if our strength is sufficient to the task.
Now is the time to divide the Iris and Peonies, to purchase new Spring bulbs, to once and for all rid the beds of unwanted imposters, lest they gain a foothold over the winter months. Soon it will be time to work good compost from stalls and coops into the raised beds. (This is preparatory work, foundational work that must be done now or the moment missed.)
But before that work begins, now in this moment of changing September light, let us be aware of the vibrancy and extravagance of the autumnal flowers, the reprise of Spring, the best and brightest, saved for last. These deep, exquisite colors will have to carry us through all the bleak months of Winter. Breathe deeply, look closely, burn the images into your soul.