All Fall Down


As weather fronts arrive, differing heats of air, land, and sea produce lovely mists and fogs.
  • Dramatic changes in two weeks have heralded the entry into colder weather.  Almost overnight, literally overnight in some cases, leaves switched from green to gold.  Scarlet above became common.  Orange gleamed on hills.  And beneath was brown, more brown, and piles of brown.
  • Some seasons glide in gracefully, almost unnoticed.  That is unfortunately often the pattern in spring, when I keep expecting better weather than there could possibly be.  This autumn has held on to summer conditions way beyond normal.  Although much appreciated, that has left little time for transition to cold wind and bare branches.


Nuts make for treacherous footing especially if I don’t get them up before hidden by fallen leaves.
  • For weeks now, hickory nut bombs have been shattering on pavement or denting roofs and unwary cars underneath.  Many split open as they hit hard surfaces.  Squirrels rush about digging holes in gardens and lawns, frantically hiding larders in hopes of discovering them when the ground freezes.
  • Hickory is barely edible, if there is absolutely nothing else available.  But I find them a constant nuisance, and simply scoop them up in heavy pails to put out with the rest of the yard waste.  I suppose they compost with the leaves and branches at our town site, but sometimes it seems more like throwing out heavy wooden furniture and hoping it will decompose in any reasonable time. 


The deluge has begun _ just barely _ at the top of our driveway.
  • Ring around the rosie ….
  • Cheerful black death ditty proving humans can grimly laugh at anything.


Milkweed seeds setting off to find a homestead for next year.
  • Colors are now sneaking onto the scene like unexpected guests.  Suddenly a patch of brilliant crimson, or a long splash of astounding gold will announce summer has in fact ended.  Meanwhile the greens get just a bit more drab, the weeds a lot more brittle and brown, and the butterflies and bees much less numerous.
  • Warm temperatures have made this October a great time to be outdoors, although some are grumbling that it remains far too humid and hot for their taste.  I love the fact that I have been able to sit on the water or on a park bench still without heavy jacket, soaking in sun for the last time before dark months and chill settle in for their long siege.


In spite of lots of greenery, this scene with grasses could only appear in October.
  • Dogwoods have faithfully recorded the passing of days.  Berries have turned bright red and fallen to the ground.  Leaves have gradually shown dark scarlet veins, then lost almost all their green hue, and are now crisping and falling quickly as rains settle in.  Soon their branches will again be bare against the purpling sky.
  • Dogwoods represent perhaps the most noble and consistent local ornamentals.  Their blossoms signal that true spring has arrived, their airy canopies provide light shade all summer, and their strange branching patterns are always fascinating when covered with new snowfall.  But in autumn, although hardly as spectacular as some maples, they change almost like clockwork, and always remind me of what is really going on in spite of the day to day weather.


Barry hoists a heavy machine onto his back with a groan as sunbeams flicker horizontally.  “Boy, I’m glad this is the last one.  What a day.”
“Yeah, Peterson’s was nasty,” agrees Juan.  “That woman, she is some kind of evil.”
“Every damn leaf, even under the shrubs.”
“These people, they are truly crazy, I think.”
“No, Juan, no.  Poor people are crazy.  Rich people are eccentric.  Look around.  These are all rich people.”
“I wonder what they do to have so much?”
“So does everyone,” laughs Barry.  “So does everyone.”

With a tug and mutual roars only partially shielded by big ear protectors, they begin yet another Sisyphean task.


Pokeweed berries shining but undisturbed, probably because of the extravagant banquet available everywhere else.
Once upon a time, I hear
You didn’t need a weatherman
For wind direction, far or near
A task that anybody can
But modern times we specialize
Need web-wide facts to get along
Don’t trust our mind, nor ears, nor eyes,
Our simple finger might be wrong.
Is it fall, do leaves come down?
From in this room I cannot know
Too busy to go look around

And tell which way the wind may blow.

One thought on “All Fall Down

  1. Love the title: All Fall Down. Also really like the milkweed photo…like a gorgeous exotic bird. Enjoyed the pokeweed ditty…very clever. Those berries look good enough to eat, but I think are very poisonous, are they not?


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