The sky is spotless blue. The maple in the front yard has turned red, more or less overnight. The windows are closed, leaving our noses with reminders to clean the litter boxes and check the bin of onions for bad ones.

Summer is gone.

For all our work canning–peach jam, tomatoes, salsa, grape jelly from the feral grapes in the woods–we do not have enough to make it through the winter, because the winter is always longer and harder than we plan for.

Yesterday, I was given something to eat by my son and two friends. A little nub of a flower–Spilanthes, though I didn’t know it at the time. Eat it, go ahead, it’s not poisonous, they said. I did eat it, and trusted that the not-quite-burning sensation that followed would fade, and it did. Eventually. Once that feeling ended, I was left with my mouth, only something slightly difference than before, my tongue exploring the corners, everything awake, alive. But there had been that moment, that almost-burning place where I had to remind myself that it would end, trust that what I had been told was true and it would not last forever.

Winter won’t last forever either. No, it’s not here yet, but the red in my yard tells me that the trees will be bare all too soon. We are transitioning from flowers beneath the windows and hummingbirds to moons glimpsed through barren branches and owls.

In the meantime, there are pumpkins to roast. There are turkeys in the yard daily, and in the road, and roosting in the trees at night. There are autumn olives for picking along the borders of fields. There are wool socks, and knitting to take out, and patches of sunlight to sit in. There are books to read, and, hopefully, books to write.

The season of home begins, for everything on this land, in these woods. Burrows and berries and acorns and sleep. It is time.