Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fall Leaves Leave

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Returned home from Burlington this afternoon to find Karl the Wonder Dog laying on a pile of "clean" laundry. Note on the counter simply said "Alex to art at Cutler". The new wood stove had not been touched since last night although the soapstone still had some warmth left. It was quiet.

As I looked though the mail laying on the table, Karl came into the kitchen and gave me a nudge suggesting he wanted to do what I was doing; really I just wanted to sit still for a while and not move. He put two paws on my knees and leaned forward with a kiss. I could have questioned his affection as there was no one else there to kiss but I know better--the dog really does love me. "But why?" Gail often asks.

In a couple minutes I was looking more like a Carhartt ad than a regular me but Karl didn't mind and away we went for a walk along the woods trail. Last night's snow was still heavy in places and the leaves that remained on the maples could be heard drip-drip-dripping from heavily bent limbs. It was calm as we made a circle with Karl's sniffer being our guide.

We crossed the road and walked through the maple border and looked off towards Hooker Mountain. Fog swirled around the peak. It came to me that I never made it up there this summer and had I climbed even a couple days ago I could have taken some beautiful shots of Peacham Pond and Groton Forest. More "could'uves". When we first moved here in 1989, you could hear bears talking up there on Hooker but in recent years they have moved closer to humanville around the roads and ponds where houses offer easy pickin's to chow down on. It's still a very nice mountain.

Karl pulled me into the field and as we looked west, the valley reminded me of previous flashbacks about life 200 years ago traveling the valley with horses and buggies. It's a great view!

The edge of the pasture was blanketed with spent leaves from the sugar bush. They fanned out into the pasture but as we retreated into the woods, the leaves piled thicker and the walk, even
with the snow, became quieter.

We stopped for a bit as Karl smelled something. I enjoyed the mountain views and then noticed a row of marigolds and then a row of ......pulmonarias???? I was standing in my neighbor's garden except that I didn't see it, didn't know about it before. I hadn't been there since spring and it wasn't there back then. I pulled Karl in the direction of fewer leaves until we were safely out of the garden. Our tracks were obvious. It made me think of a Robert Frost poem.

A Leaf-Treader.

I have been treading on leaves all day until I am autumn-
God knows all the color and form of leaves I have trodden
on and mired.
Perhaps I have put forth too much strength and been too
fierce from fear.
I have safely trodden underfoot the leaves of another year.

All summer long they were overhead, more lifted up than I.
To come to their final place on earth they had to pass me by.
All summer long I thought I heard them threatening under
their breath.
And when they came it seemed with a will to carry me with
them to death.

They spoke to the fugitive in my heart as if it were leaf to
They tapped at my eyelids and touched my lips with an
invitation to grief.
But it was no reason I had to go because they had to go.
Now up, my knee, to keep on top of another year of snow.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where Gail just returned from a neighbors. She delivered a carrot cake and two bushels of Norwegian Fir cones for a birthday present. Our neighbor will soon be making Christmas wreaths and the cones are like gold. For Gail, it was just a neighborly way to say Happy Birthday and thanks for being next door.

As for me, I think I am autumn- tired


George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm


Syble said...

Pictures are beautiful. I've never been to Vermont but I keep telling everyone that I am going for a visit, one day. Robert Frost said it all very well, did he not?


lynn'sgarden said...

That's the beauty of our furry companions...unconditional love! A great poem sited...very impressed if you knew it by heart, George ;)
Hooker Mt. is breathtaking! Come by and visit the colors of NJ.

Hope Gail made extra cake for you!

Erica Houskeeper said...

The photos are so pretty, especially the top photo of the leaves. Lovely poem, too.