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Autumn blues and other colors

All our neighbors have gone, taking kids, dogs, scars and tans back to town. We are left in the slump of after Labor Day, icing on the cake of summer. I drop the rug I'm dustily thumping, sit down and look. Asters fill hollows with lavender smoke, pitch and foam over banks; goldenrod shifts spears. Cedar waxwings flash and trill like carnival birds at the end of a stick. Young chickadees zip from tree to air snap insects that whirl in final clouds. The local squirrel bites off green apples and tamps them into a cleft of branches. Chipmunks are overworked, pouching cherry seeds. I think of the crop I'll need to pull next spring, along with dandelions still adding to their roots. Mid-day sun at this slant slows everything but the cicada's song rising in the weeds, high on September heat. At the top of the maple three red leaves like a small shock mark stop to summer.

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