Fall Days

Autumn weather this year has been nonstop Indian summer, with mild temperatures conducive to all the best the Vineyard has to offer: hiking through long woodland trails with the soft crunch of newly fallen leaves underfoot, dip-netting for scallops and hauling a basket home to shuck for early Sunday supper, gathering armfuls of russet and teal hydrangeas from the garden to bring indoors, taking one last sail, one last paddle, one last bracing swim.

And as Islanders who are inveterate homebodies know, this is the best time of year for projects around the house and yard — planting bulbs, hanging laundry out on the line in perfect, fresh-washed symmetry and painting storm doors in the warm, dry air, a last defense against the icy, salt-blasted winter winds that are just around the corner. Even washing windows takes on a rosy glow on a clear, warm October day, the sashes thrown open, fresh air flowing through the house, perhaps some Miles Davis on the Sunday morning radio show.

This is October’s last kiss.