White Dog held it in her mouth as she wakened me this morning. It was a ritual she initiated when she was just a puppy and we share it every year at this time.
She held a yellow leaf. When she was younger a "trade" was demanded in exchange for the official notice that Autumn was upon us but now n the mellowing of years, she brings the first fallen leaf she finds to me and we sit together, leaf between us, and remember the highlights of the summer.
It will takes weeks for our tall stately trees to change colors and lose all of their leaves; our trees are usually among the last in the neighborhood. But this is the first, the messenger of the change upon us.
We spent the afternoon at the Park. It was nearly deserted but the sunlight was tranquil not blazing and the air had a different taste. There was a pull to stay and doze and cloud watch and silently sit together with friends. It was seductive in its golden spell to slow down and reminisce.
When we got home we surprised the White Dog Army with fresh sardines. We prepared an Autumnal meal that filled the house with smells of caramelizing onions, sauteing mushrooms and paprika. Plump potato and cheese pirogi crispy from their dance with hot butter welcomed the vegetables and we welcomed the seasonal comfort, topped off with baked apples (the WDA swooned for these).
It is that time of year when sleep is very special because open windows provide a slight chill by morning. Blanket snuggling skills are revived and everyone awakes somehow a little more refreshed than at other times of the year.
I hold Puff in my arms and she presses against me. "Soon," I tell her, "it will be time for sweaters and nightshirts."