Duncan and I just returned from our evening walk. It is a perfectly lovely evening with the sky turning from the kind of vibrant blue known only in September to a bashful pink and a glorious, nostalgic gold right above the jagged dark line of the mountains. The crickets have struck up their familiar tune, almost drowning out the unsteady but blaring notes of the miserable marching band practicing on the far side of the park. And although my spirits are light and content (I came home to discover Ken had cleaned and made dinner before leaving for work, which makes the night that much sweeter, freeing up my evening for time well-spent on the patio, reading and sipping a cold drink), I can't help but think that this sort of night, the kind I treasure most, will soon become a thing of the past, something looked fondly back upon while I gaze out the window at the naked branches that crowd against the pane and shiver around the first whispering flakes of snow. It is difficult for me to relinquish Summer to Autumn, afternoons spent wading in the river while Duncan swims to cold mornings standing in the hollow light waiting for him to get his fill of the wet and the mud and leaves that cling like soggy tissue to the hair on his belly. Summer is when I feel most alive, existing entirely in the moment, while Autumn is a waking dream, spent hovering like a ghost in the past. I prefer t-shirts and flip-flops to sweaters and scarves, the sounds of people playing volleyball to the patter of wind and rain on the windows, the rich scents of meat and corn still in the husk on my grill to the simmer of soup.
But tonight, with the sight of the leaves beginning to change, the air cooling and the dark coming on sooner than I like, I will sip my drink and keep one hand resting on the back of my dog, who is golden and delighted by all the days of the year. Few things are better.