Friday, September 6, 2013

And Raindrops Fall Like Leaves

Where Rain-Drenched Blue Heron Stood
Soggy Horses
Road Spray & Hay Trucks
Raindrops on Rutabagas
Wait and Watch
Blue Heron stands like a cloaked stranger in the downpour. In the shadows cast by hunkering clouds, his feathers look almost dark steely-blue. If he were a comic-book character, he’d be a blue-clad Dick Tracy. All he needs is a feathered fedora. For a while—during preening—I thought what feathers he didn’t pluck would fade to stone-washed denim in the summer sun. Rain has darkened them to indigo.

Summer sun has baked the pasture to dust along the dog trails; the horses now forage a wider range; and watering has been an endless chore. It was too hot to work in my office during the day and garden harvesting has been sweaty duty. The sky has been blue, blue and blue.

September rumbles in the reminder that Elmira Pond exists because this is the Pacific Northwest. Thunder booms distantly, as if announcing the return of ocean water scudding across the skies. It has rained intermittently buckets and teaspoons for two days. Was I truly longing for rain, for something more than morning mist? Did I miss gray skies? Maybe, just a little. The soggy horses at the fence aren’t so sure.

Other regions measure fall by the turning of leaves. As a rookie to the Pacific Northwest, I’m beginning to believe fall is measured in cups of water, cloud density and the spray of passing hay trucks. For now, I am relieved that watering won’t consume my days, and grateful that Blue Heron still lurks upon his summer log. Although he left before I could wrap my camera in a plastic bag for rainy shots.

What next? Will the migratory birds vanish, taking with them their songs of summer? Will great flocks descend upon the pond to rest before continuing on? When do the ospreys head to Costa Rica? Who stays, who goes? Already geese are amassing in pointed flocks, honking across the evening skyline. I don’t know what to expect next--new sightings or silence.

Blackberries are a jumble of green, red and purple-black. Will the rain improve the harvest or stop it? The garden plants burst with fullness, sucking up all that moisture. Will they miss the sun? Is this the season that kale craves? I’ll pour a cup of coffee, sit on the fire-ring bench and watch.

Let the season of “surprise me, September” begin.

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