The hay is baled. Tire tracks tell the story. The garden is fading – each day darker more muted. At ground level, the water in the bird bath is both opaque, glassy white and dark olive – a trick of shadow.
A bronze-colored statue lies next to the bird bath, beneath one of the bird-friendly shags. She lies on her stomach, knees bent, feet in the air, ankles crossed. She has propped herself up on her elbows and in her hands she holds a book. I love this girl – living in the dirt, under a cactus, reading of far off places. Maybe she is reading about walking a forest path or wading in the surf. “Oh look! A Sandpiper!”
A rabbit tentatively hops six inches towards the bird bath and then another cautious six inches. It is a slow process. He stops to listen. He finally makes it to his destination and cocks his head once more to listen. Then heedless of danger, he dips his head and drinks – thirstily as if he has not drunk in a long time.
September closed out the calendar in a golden haze of Indian Summer. Every day was a gift.
October greeted us with more snow. What started out as a dusting of confectionary sugar is genuine icing that descends from the peaks and runs to the tree-line. The sun is blinding. Should you dare to look at it, your retinas would fry like eggs in a cast iron skillet. As the days shorten and daylight wanes, I embrace this last hurrah like a long-lost lover.
My camera is with me always. It cruises the cereal aisle at the grocery, buys stamps at the post office, and surveys the frost damage in my garden which at this point is surprisingly slight.
But we are leaving for a three-week road trip. I don’t think that I dare leave the planter boxes outside. I should at the very least pull out the leggy but still-blooming petunias and prune back the still-blooming geraniums. The barbarism eats at me. How can I nurture my beauties all spring and summer and then brutally hack away with a knife come fall? It feels like a betrayal.
As for the camera, what is the point of all the photos? Am I trying to freeze time? Am I capturing proof of warmer weather and summer meals outside on the patio?
My mind flits to Jim Croce and his 1970 song: IF I COULD SAVE TIME IN A BOTTLE. A couple of my favorite lines include “There never seems to be enough time / to do the things you want to do […] If I had a box just for wishes / and dreams that had never come true / the box would be empty / except for the memory / of how they were answered by you.”
Some of my readers might want to revisit the music and take a trip down memory lane; others who don’t know the song, really need an introduction. Take a listen at https://uk.search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=slv1-hpd05&p=time%20in%20a%20bottle. Croce wrote this song when his wife Ingrid told him that she was pregnant with his son Adrian. Three years later when Jim Croce died in a plane crash, the song’s popularity took off. People were struck by what they felt was the song’s precognition.
I guess that the camera does freeze time. But time is surprisingly elastic. Sorting through old family photos, I zip-line through time at breakneck speed. In mere seconds, a photo will take me away, and I am there. It is 1950 something. So the photo may be frozen in some static state, but warmed in the hands of the viewer, it is fluid.
A photo can shatter time in a bottle.
The frost is on the pumpkin and hunting season is upon us. It is just a matter of days before the deer come down to shelter in town.