What is more beautiful than a day in September? Today the answer was, “nothing!”
I am looking out the window in my office right now as the sun is setting in the west, lighting up the weeping willow tree that has doubled in size since we planted it three years ago. Straight ahead, the last roses of summer are blooming, adding a splash of red to the landscape. Along the flagstone path to the rose arbor, pink sedum flowers wave on long stems next to the Autumn Flame Red Maple tree.
Of course, I think of Keats’ “To Autumn”
John Keats (1795-1821)
SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
I’m listening to these same autumn sounds, thousands of miles and almost 200 years since Keats wrote these words. And I am remembering a perfect day.
The day began without benefit of alarm clock–at 8:30 a.m. After a light breakfast, Stuart and I drove to get our flu shots at the doctor’s office. No charge–covered by insurance. Then to Starbucks for a seasonal treat–Pumpkin Spice Latte and a copy of The New York Times. The sun inspired us to take our bikes to the Kal-Haven trail and ride to Gobels 13.1 miles away, eat at late lunch at our favorite spot, Jan’s Trailside Cafe, and then ride home again. The picture above was taken along the way. Here are a few more:
Stuart ordered “goulash” for lunch. I had a bowl of homemade ham and bean soup–excellent. We discussed whether the shape of pasta (such as the macaroni in his goulash) made a difference in the taste. Tonight on NPR we got the answer, “Yes, indeed.” Here’s the delightful All Things Considered segment describing the new book called The Geometry of Pasta, studded with fascinating facts (did you know that tortellini’s shape was inspired by Venus’ navel?) and lovely drawings.
Today allowed us many kinds of conversation, good use of our muscles, silence, revery, meditation, dreaming, good food, a chance connection with other bikers on the trail, sunshine, ripeness to observe in nature–harvest time, and above all, gratitude for all of the above and more.
We are so blessed by love and health, community and solitude, good books, good friends, family, our faith, and dreams for the future. But today was all about the present moment. We lived all 86,400 seconds in this one wild and precious day.
What does your perfect day look like? If you haven’t had one lately, describe it here; then go make it happen. Come back again and tell us what mischief you made.