I spent some time today cleaning a few things out of the garden. Very little is left now; the tomatoes and peppers got hit by the frost last night and had become a soggy, wilted mess. I harvested what was ripe and into the compost pile went the rest. The leeks are still there, defying the frost, and some garlic that I had given up hope on seems to be proving me wrong and growing in spite of me. As I carted the plants to the compost pile, I noticed some differences between the fall work and spring work.
The sounds have changed. In the spring, working in the garden was accompanied by the songs of birds returned to the area and singing for all they were worth to stake out territory, attract mates, and, I like to think, just because they love to sing. Today only a few lonely crows and some southbound geese were all I heard.
The smells are different. It's that fall smell in the air that I love, yet it reminds me that the warm days are over and we're heading into the cold season. The light has changed. It's more golden in the fall; whether because of the trees or because of the angle of the earth to the sun or because it wants one last hurrah before winter, I don't know.
The thoughts are different. Instead of going over in my head what will go where, how to rotate the veggies and ensure that each gets the best spot to grow, I just pull it out and plop it on the pile. My thoughts are free to wander elsewhere, planning dinner and composing blog entries.
The leaves have changed. No longer is the rustle of leaves that of young, hopeful leaves just emerged from buds, but that of leaves that are tired and ready to fall. It's a drier sound.
It sounds desolate but it's just the way fall is. I'm sure there is deep philosophy in there somewhere, but today I just drank it in.
The chickens, meanwhile, delighted themselves by striking into new territory. I watched them excitedly crossing the driveway and heading up to the first bend. I think they feel very brave about it all, little feathered explorers discovering that across the vast expanse of the driveway, everything is pretty much the same as on this side. But I won't tell them that.