Departures, Heralds, & Wonders

Deep autumn has come to Full Moon Cottage and its neighbors. The fields of feed corn have been harvested and cut back to the earth. Ridges of golden stubble stand in rows that stripe the hills.

The landscape and its population are transformed. Shorn of the dense stalks, our view is lengthened and widened to coming winter’s stark openness. Whatever—and whomever—the cornstalks obscured now risks exposure. Deer wander the furrows and debris, seeking sustenance, and providing defensive exercises for Riley and Clancy as they patrol the eastern windows.

Every morning, between 7 and 9 A.M., I receive faithful, raucous, reports delivered every-5-minutes in yips and barks and meant to alert me to deer, turkey, squirrel, rabbit and low-flying hawk movements on the lawn or in the bordering woods. Or in the far distance, just in case territorial invasion might be imminent. (By 9 A.M., the daylight counsels the wild ones to conceal themselves again, and the dogs are ready for a well-earned nap. Mom is ready for a Bloody Mary, but settles for tea and quiet.)

Other surprises have come out from the cornstalks as well. This little fellow emerged from the farmer’s field beside the trail and followed me home a couple of days ago.

Apparently, his first year of hard-knock life has sharpened his abilities to identify me as an easy mark. He is now housed and fed and has received a fine once-over from our wonderful veterinarian. It will take a few weeks before “Fergus” is ready to socialize with the rest of the clan; hopefully, his integration with the other 4-leggeds will be peaceful. (Insert laughs.)

Our summer companions have begun to ready themselves for hibernation, flown to warmer habitats, or surrendered their brief lives to the circle’s rhythm. This beautiful Clouded Sulphur butterfly succumbed to the cold that blew down the trail last night. I offered it a blessing and gentle burial beneath leaves at the side of the trail.

The red-winged blackbirds are flocking up, rehearsing songs, and preparing for their migration. Huge numbers gather on the new islands the drought formed in the river. The air is warming again and expected to reach temperatures of 65°F (18°C) by the weekend before dipping back down again to a more seasonal 40°F (4°C) on Sunday. The blackbird choir will be missed, but their departure signals that the welcome and deep silence of winter is near.

Departures may also serve to herald the new.

Frost, the art designer that accompanies our colder temperatures, nightly paints the gardens and grasses with glittering beauty, creating visions of stunning glory even in death, a fine way to translate one’s energy during times of transition, I think.

Conversely, bringing the houseplants back indoors last month generated unexpected and early blooms in the cactus, violets, and even the jade plants, making the house more colorful and cheerful than the grays and browns that begin to dominate outside.

Our daily walks are a bit more brisk and bundled, and we’re happy to withdraw indoors, rest with books and tea (and 4-leggeds’ treats), and slow our rhythms down to congruence with the rest of nature, grateful for the sweet blessings of Fergus and cactus blooms, heralds of hope and affirmations that the circle’s turning continues and continues to offer surprising gifts, if we open our eyes and hearts.


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10 thoughts on “Departures, Heralds, & Wonders

  1. So beautiful, Kitty, I love taking your thoughtful walks with you. And this made me laugh out loud: “By 9 A.M., the daylight counsels the wild ones to conceal themselves again, and the dogs are ready for a well-earned nap. Mom is ready for a Bloody Mary, but settles for tea and quiet.”

    Fergus looks like the cornfields, gold and striped – and such a sweet face. Please keep us posted on his progress as a new family member.

    I just returned from a short trip; now I’m inspired to go outside and see what small wonders linger in the garden this morning.


  2. Fergus knew who to tap for a new home 🙂 A real sweetie. I hope he settles easily into the cottage life and all goes well. Animal introductions can be stressful sometimes. Sending prayers your way. Frost is everywhere this morning and a Nor’ Easter due in tonight/tomorrow. I am so not ready for snow yet. Oh well, not much I can do but make a big pot of soup, pour a bloody mary and sit back and watch. Thanks for the field trip. Always enjoyable….Blessings…VK


  3. Dear Catherine,

    What a pleasure to come with you on a day in the life at Full Moon Cottage. Each photo and your easy and light commentary draws me deeper and deeper until the final picture and I just wanted it to go on.

    The little barks of self-importance made me smile. I look forward to tales and new beginnings of Fergus. I was touched by the beauty that still shimmered from the Clouded Sulphur. Most of all I was held captive by the frosted beauties out in the garden.

    I think you captured to perfection nature’s rolling up of one season and setting the stage ready for the next – all in a natural flow of softly unassuming silence.

    Thank you. Sharon


  4. Thank you, Sharon; I’m so happy you made time to visit and read, and then to offer your kind and deepening comments. Fergus has his own room, closed off from the other cats, for now…They’re aware of him. He comes upstairs for a visit every night after they’ve gone to bed, so the “smells are being exchanged.” He needs a few weeks to let the medicines work their magic and to allow his little body to adjust to regular and healthy food. He loves his little kennel, so I think that will be his “shield” when he first meets his new siblings…I’ve learned these introductions are best done very slowly. 🙂 Pretty sure St. Francis will help us out here. Blessings appreciated. Peace to your day.


  5. Oh Catherine, this was such a treat for me to read, and I enjoyed it all so much I don’t know where to start re a comment.

    Ahhhhh, you are an angel to take in little Fergus, who, no doubt will cause many more sudden urges for a bloody mary over the next few months, I look forward to hearing how the integration goes……..fur will fly no doubt!!! So …five cats?????? struth, you are brave.

    I loved the second pic of the dog, beautiful, and it was lovely seeing the frosted leaves and rose. How lovely that you get to see so much wildlife, I must admit to a slight pang of envy!xxxxx


  6. Maybe not an angel or brave, but a fool. Married, blessedly, to a saint. Yes, I’d say 5’s the limit. (Cats, not husbands, i.e.)

    We shall see. The cats all have places and room to be alone, so it might work. Riley and Clancy (our pups) are most tolerant…and thanks for your praise of Miss Riley’s photo: She’s quite a supermodel!

    We are lucky to be here, I agree, though I need my days in the city now and then for balance…but my heart is here, that’s for certain. Thank you sooooo much for visiting, snowbird…wish you could join me for a bloody; I have a feeling they’ll be forthcoming. Sending a virtual toast!


  7. I have a very good impression of Fergus. He looks like a life-long friend. I hope it works out. Your descriptions of the wild life around your home was a pleasure to read. I feel like a visitor, when reading your blog posts. I love your pictures. They are always so beautiful in themselves, and at the same time, wonderful illustrations of the text. Thank you or another sweet post. It has been the ‘treat’ of my evening, as I drink my tea.


    1. Thank you, Shimon: the circle completes as I enjoy your comments with my mid-morning tea! Fergus is coming along; he comes upstairs at night after the others have retired to their beds in the lower level cat bedroom, and it’s fun to watch the others tracking his scent trails when they come up in the morning…Hoping that after our Thanksgiving celebrations, Fergus can begin to socialize in person. I so appreciate your visits and kindness, Shimon, and praise for any of my photography is richly appreciated when it comes from one who knows his way around the art like you do. Peace to your day.


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