Monday, October 10, 2011

`Such Is the Wisdom of October'

“October’s cache receives Summer.
Under creaking branches bared to rain
Wet wads of leaves clog the gutter.”

All day the rain fell, starting before dawn when the sound of rolling thunder woke me. The gentle crash accompanied by the thrum of rain on the roof is a comfort, and I fell back to sleep. The lines above are from Tony Connor’s “Autumn” (Things Unsaid: New and Selected Poems 1960-2005).

By mid-morning, the trees and grass had recovered some of their greenness. Eddies of dirt formed on the driveway and in the street, as rain washed away six months of dust. The ground is baked hard and is slow to absorb so much water. I replenished the backyard feeders and the birds bathed and fed at the same time. I counted three blue jays and two cardinals, male and female. One exotic showed up – a pale yellow parrot who fed on the seeds that had fallen to the ground. I watched him through the kitchen window with binoculars and saw that his features resembled a parakeet’s, but larger.

Except for one errand I stayed indoors all day, reading, writing and cleaning. Despite the rain, the small cat periodically went outdoors. Each time she came back in, the big cat washed her with her tongue, concentrating on face and ears. Cyril Connolly writes in The Unquiet Grave (1944):

“Cracking tawny nuts, looking out at the tawny planes [that is, plane trees] with their dappled festoons of yellow and green, reading the Tao Te Ching by a log fire: such is the wisdom of October: autumn bliss; the equinoctial study of religions.”

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