We’re due for our first hard frost tonight. Maybe my mini-ecosystem will be spared; sometimes it seems to be blessed by a merciful god, graced with warm soils and mild air pockets. Other times – not so much. So this afternoon, in the blinding October sunlight, I went out to the garden and gathered in everything tender.
Yes, that’s an eggplant, barely larger than my cherry tomatoes. I’ve always had horrible luck growing eggplant. I keep trying, anyway, just for the idea of it. I suspect that reveals something about my character that really ought to stay hidden. It’s not unlike the dog who’s sure he’ll get the better of the skunk, this time.
The butternut squash are also miniatures, and not by design. They’re the sole survivors of marauding squash bugs and vine borers and spotted cucumber beetles. (The last of these have moved on to our roses, the little bastards.)
I actually love the first weeks of fall more than just about any other season. I love the advent of a new school year, the sense of possibility and beginning again. (Maybe that’s why I’ve never really been out of school since I was five?) I love the turning leaves and the sharp edge to the morning air.
But now the season is about to twist on its axis, making the decline of Eden evident and inevitable. This is the bookend to the golds of spring, the fulfillment of the Robert Frost poem I quoted here last spring while the daffodils held sway:
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
In the morning, I’ll tally up my losses. Tonight, I’ve still got this, the summer’s final bounty.