It still feels summery in the Berkshires, though there are signs of change everywhere. Most of the butterflies and many of the birds have already started their long journeys south. A family of strident blue jays has taken up residence in the willow which the hummingbirds leased during the summer. As dawn was breaking this morning, I heard the plaintive call of the barred owl in the woods: “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?” But, for the most part, the mornings are much quieter now, except for the refrigerator-like hum of crickets and cicadas.
Though melancholy, it’s still a beautiful time in the garden. As the foliage dies back, you can see the plants’ intricate architecture: the bristling seed heads of the echinacea and monarda or the dried-out allium florets like so many Fourth of July sparklers. The sunflowers collapsed overnight, and the heavily seeded, blackened discs are being picked over by the birds and chipmunks. And the wild flower field has ossified — like the lost citizens of Pompeii.
End of Summer by Stanley Kunitz
An agitation of the air,
A perturbation of the light
Admonished me the unloved year
Would turn on its hinge that night.
I stood in the disenchanted field
Amid the stubble and the stones,
Amazed, while a small worm lisped to me
The song of my marrow-bones.
Blue poured into summer blue,
A hawk broke from his cloudless tower,
The roof of the silo blazed, and I knew
That part of my life was over.