It is the time of year when the trees give one great show of colored leaves. The oaks turn a beautiful brown, grow crinkly, and then blow away in the wind. The young oak outside my kitchen window still holds onto a few green leaves at the very tips of her branches, despite the winds. October has been remarkable this year — dry, clear, sunny and quite comfortably warm. The air is crisp, the sun warm, and so while I have donned my Giamos uniform — the black turtleneck — still by afternoon I am discarding layers. Corduroy jacket. Waistcoat.
Hazel, Cherry, and Smokebush are all holding onto their leaves yet. The smokebush, which was colorful all year, now stands out all the more behind the now-bare branches of the Rowan. The Hawthorn, which was for a month so very beautiful with red haws and green leaves, now i entirely bare. Yet, that Hawthorn remains quite alert even in Giamos, branches always ready to knock off my hat.
My roses, new this year, are on my mind. I need to protect them for winter. The Lena rose has done so very well and still is full of pink blossoms. The climing rose not as well. It seems not to have grown and looks a bit peeked. It may be the soil and less sun, as it is under the east wall of the house. I shall have to see if I can keep her alive through the winter months and do better by her next year.
I get a little melancholy to face another winter. If March would be like this October, then we all would be happy, but in the Spring in Minnesota this weather hardly returns until May. As I recall, though, this past year’s Spring came a month early. The weather changes and we, I fear, are receiving a fairly benign change. At least in terms of temperature. The consequences of warmer winters in the northland, however, include bugs and parasites being able to overwinter instead of being killed off. It is not so good for the trees.
Our street was once lined with elms. There are still one or two left. The City replaced those that died of Dutch Elm disease with ash trees. Most of them are not even very old. There is one very large one two doors down from us. But they are now succumbing to the Ash borer beetle and I noticed one tree had been marked by the City foresters for removal. Alas for the Ash trees. They are such a major part of our northern forests.
Minerva, my tabby cat, is out hunting this morning. She loves her morning constitutional. She would love an evening one too, if I let her out. She goes out in the early morning light, the sun warm but feeble, so far South. She finds a sunny spot on on of the garden chairs and hunkers down to absorb the warmth before heading out on her walk. I do not know where she goes, but she does return, often talking with great animation, telling me all about what she has seen. If only I spoke Miaow.
It is the waning of the year. Samhuinn is but a week and a half away. Parties to celebrate the new year and to brave the chills and short days of Giamos. The reign of the Holly King comes, and he is a little gloomy and harsh at times. Who can blame him for being crabby when his subjects spend the time of his reign dreaming of his rival brother the Oak King and his sunny fruitful and green reign in Samos. Samhuinn, say the sages, means “the end of Samos” – the end of summerlight.