Sunday, October 12, 2008


It's not as though we hadn't been warned.

The trees on the mountain sides have been flaming red for weeks, waving their warning foliage in alarm. It is coming, they have been signaling.

The apples and pears in the valley, taking notice, have been leaping from their branches, diving head first, cracking twigs and branches in their rush to escape. They bounce on the lawn or splat on the sidewalk, stinking out a warning. You cannot escape either, their carcasses ooze.

Last weekend the rain pelted the valley for more than two days. When the clouds cleared, the green had been rinsed from the tops of the trees. Fading and tired, the other leaves began within days to sag and droop. The battle is already lost, they sigh.

Each morning the thermostat registers lower and lower. The mailbox fills with papers and fliers shouting out in oranges and yellows that pumpkins are selling and Now is the time to buy snow boots. Join us, they call treacherously.

I layer my windbreaker over my fleece. I unpack the box of sweaters, wondering where my wool jacket ended up. And where is my black wool skirt? It would look good with my red striped English stockings. We will not protect you, my closet derides.

This morning, a whirl of white, the first snowflakes fell. The tomato plant cowered and then shriveled under their touch. The daisies pressed their bodies to the ground in fear. The flakes laughed and swirled and mocked us all briefly. We will be back, they said.

Nine years you have been hiding. Nine years. But we will come for you.

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