I woke up to the view of turning leaves, already yellowed from these cool days and flannelette-pyjama-ed nights, our first frost warning announced just before bed last night. I could hear the mice playing in an unseen corner of my centenary riverside apartment this morning, seemingly no longer surprised by their annual visit.
This evening, still expecting to walk out into the summer gloaming after running a few mall errands, I caught my breath as I stepped out into darkness. And when I walked in from the night rain toward the sound of my radiators' virgin-like gurgling, I knew. You can't pull the wool over my eyes. Well..at least, not forever. The wool sweaters do need to be moved up a shelf or two though, because clearly, Fall is here .
My prairie summers are the briefest of summers. They are at once formidable and oh-so-vulnerable, and my stomach drops every time I feel it fall away from me, the seasons of hibernation looking down upon me with that invincible grin of theirs.
And so, I bundled up in hat and scarf and my cut-off wool mittens, and I head out into the wet night for my late night walk, as I would every other night, so as to feel the earth beneath my feet while I still can. And this is when it happened. I had my first encounter with this family of animals. And what a family it was!
Some hundred yards from home, feeling I was not alone, in the dark I paused and held my breath. I tried desperately to see what my eyes were yet unable to determine, and I waited... Something in the tree, over there...and on the grass to my left..and up ahead, two eyes, four eyes, six eyes came into view. I was surrounded by racoons. . .
Slowly I began to breathe again, staying among this awesome family, smiling at this curious chance meeting with creatures that, until tonight, for me existed only in fairy tales and books. What a lovely way to remember Fall's first day ...