Column: A time of hurry and preparations

  • (Micki Colbeck photograph) Micki Colbeck photograph

For the Valley News
Published: 10/2/2020 1:27:06 PM
Modified: 10/2/2020 1:26:54 PM

Do you feel it — the urgency to be outside? Summer days that once stretched into crepuscular evenings of gardening and taking walks have grown shorter and shorter. I am urged to soak up every ray of sunshine, every cheep from the foraging flocks, every splash of yellow and blue on goldenrods and asters, every red fruit of the Malus tree, and all the newly revealed anthocyanins, and beta-carotenes that had been waiting under green leaves all summer long.

Whereas summer has a lazy feel about it, knowing the soft air and warm sunshine will fill the bulk of a rotation around the Earth, fall feels like a time of hurried preparations. Is the woodpile stacked and split? Have fossil fuel deliveries been contracted? Where are the winter clothes and snow tires, and when should we shut the windows at night and drain the garden hoses?

Mostly, the urgency feels like grabbing beauty when I can before it is gone. I need to go into the woods and see as many birds, mosses and flowers as possible, as if they will disappear, never to return. Sometimes the dogs and I just hang out at the river letting colors and swirling leaves filter down through the trees entering who we are.

My check list for autumn includes: split ash logs piled up in the yard where the old tree fell; put face in the center of a sunflower and breathe deeply; prepare windowsills to hold houseplants that have gone feral outside; knock rust off skis; say thank you; be hopeful.

Micki Colbeck, of Strafford, is an artist, a conservation biologist and a member of the Strafford Conservation Commission. Write to her at

Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784


© 2021 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy