Of course owls can do this all the time; what can’t owls do?

We left town, and when we came back (well, I came back, Dave had to keep traveling for work) it was fall. To residents of Arizona, fall is more of an idea than a reality: the trees aren’t changing, I’m still wearing shorts, I still sleep with the AC running. But it’s fall.

When I was riding regularly, I learned that the change of the seasons is less about the temperature than about the angle of the sun. (Though of course that does affect the temperature, even here, eventually.) Lady, my horse, would begin to get shaggy with her winter coat around now, even though it was really too hot for it, because the sun was lower; went down sooner, came up later. I can see that now in the sky. There are moments when it’s fall blue, the deeper blue that comes from just a touch less light.

In the mornings and the evenings, it’s also cooler. You can taste the hint of cold breath, you can feel the possibility of closed-toed shoes. The concept of coats and hats still feels a bit unrealistic to me, but I know it’s coming.

When we left town, we went to Wisconsin, where it was not much colder than here truth be told, though there were a few crisp days, a few yellow leaves. We stayed in a house on lake up north, and I went kayaking every morning and evening (and some afternoons; I really like kayaking), and during those chilly days I could see the future season, the grey logs and grasses that bespeak the time of harvest and rest, as if I was paddling not for the shore but towards that idea. Autumn. The year’s epilogue.

I am very much ready for this year to recede into the west; it has not been the best year for me and those I love, though it was not without its high points. Eventually we will get some fall leaves here, perhaps even while it’s still too hot for boots, so that I can photograph them and present the illusion that things are other than they are, which is the great strength of the internet.

I’m going out of town again tomorrow, and when I get back, it will be time to buy a pumpkin. (Not to carve it though: they tend to decay in hyperspeed here, once you cut into them. We usually carve our pumpkins on actual Halloween, putting them out on the porch just a little too late for most of the trick-or-treaters to see them, but you know what, oh well.)

Anyway, today: fall cleaning. Tomorrow: the world. I hope it is getting chilly where you are, if that’s what comes next and how you like it.