The first frost

I should have put a heavier jacket on when I walked the dog ealy this morning. The roofs and grass were white with frost, and I hadn’t noticed that before I left the house.

The houses were beautiful in the half-light of dawn with the street lights reflecting off them. Later, when the frost was partly melted on the short grass and the roofs had turned piebald, dew dripped from the blackberry leaves. They were wet as if they had been doused with water.

The maple leaves were browner or yellower than they had been yesterday; crisper too. One good wind and we might be looking at bare branches. On the ground in Sunbury Park needles from the Douglas firs and tiny branchlets from the cedars lay thick on the ground, softening every footfall.

Further along, the clumps of golden late-flowering tansy held up well, although its earlier flowering cousins had only hard dried-brown heads. A couple of late bindweed blooms shone in the early sunlight and some late dandelions held up golden heads or wispy seed heads.

Vine maples showed off red leaves, fading to orange and curling, slightly crisp, at the edges. The birds haven’t attacked most of the mountain ash berries yet, nor have the juncos or towhees come to rustle through the dead leaves here. The migrants still give their strange calls, unseen in the woodland, as they pass through to greater warmth.

In the afternoon the sun is warm as I plant bulbs in the garden. (Why did I buy so many daffodils and so few tulips?) but it will cool off early. I’ll put on a warm jacket when I go out tonight. We still have some summer left, but winter is on its way.

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