The sun has ducked under the equator, stealthily out of range for six months. And even Thor is out of a job here in the northland when droplets fall suddenly from the gray sky. Farmer's Market stays locked behind greenhouse doors; life has been sucked from the square fountain and lights are draped in the branches downtown: twinkles to befriend the gloomiest of hearts. Swirling wind twists among the frozen grasses, around sharp corners, and down branches as the Gandalf-like puffs braid a silent magic into the hearts of the herbs and weeds. Veins once running with resin, flush gold in the still green body of a leaf. The edges curl like a treasure map singed with the flames of fire. Trees loose their covering, spreading yellow and brown, orange and red with the neighbors, leaves slicken the sidewalks and clutter around doorsteps. Petunias fight the chill, dripping golden in the puddles. Curls are pulled back over my shoulder and into my eyes. Breath freezes on my lips. A car passes, a smile, a wave. The light blinks on and I cross the street. Sweaters absorb the cold and seep to the middle of my bones. Shivers creep up my arm and though my neck. My coffee is no longer iced. Scarves aren't too hot anymore and help to hide fading freckles. Flipflops stay inside.
Moments like these will all too soon be gone forever, forgotten under drifts of snow, melting with drops of rain. This time in a year, I will be home amongst the evergreens and clear blue skies--back to the crisp warm rays of summer's end. And I'll try to remember experiencing a real "autumn" but simply painting a slosh of water or a dash of cider-green to what I've grown up with just won't get it right.
It's just color. It's just more than that.