October Days

A screech owl has been trilling outside the farmhouse this week, his voice soft and full of vibrato in the gathering darkness. Late autumn has arrived slowly this year, like a modest young girl at the ocean’s edge, reluctant to shed her terrycloth beach robe. Warm, Indian summer days lured us out onto the pond to dipnet for scallops with an old friend. We shucked the day’s catch with the sound of the Red Sox in the background, pennant hopes still alive.

But now the hopes have gone for another year along with the morning glories around the clothesline, blackened by an early morning frost. The wind is from the north-northeast and it is time to tend the woodpile — plenty of splitting, hauling and stacking to do before November sets in.

Which it hasn’t yet. But these October days are fleeting.