Waiting for the cold…

It’s late October and our windows have been closed for weeks, sealing our houses up against the chill that this month lays upon the nights. And we button up in the morning as we step out to start our cars, or saddle a horse, or feed the livestock or take a jog while the streets are quiet. We rub our hands together and notice our breath pushing out our bodies and floating in the atmosphere, hanging our words up there to linger for a bit. “Huh, look at that,” we say. “Haven’t seen my breath for months.”


Our words forget that they can be seen now.  Our skin forgets, somehow, what this chill feels like. It forgets it bites a bit. It forgets the way the cold comes in, rustling the near-bare branches, dancing with the dried up grasses and the remnants of the wildflowers left behind brave and brittle…just as we have been left here season after season. 

Yes it’s late October and we are reminded by the flush in our cheeks and the boots on our feet, prepared for the moment the sky could fall. Any moment . Our senses know it, we were animals once. The ones who move along ridge lines and on horses’ backs, behind the path of a deer, they remember. They remember that animal’s still there.

So we put on our wooly coats like the horses do and crunch through blankets of leaves on the ground, stripping off layers as the sun rises to give us one  more day of warmth. Oh, we know it’s a gift. If only it could stay until late November. But we take it. We do.

We roll up our shirt sleeves and bring the cattle home. We stroll our babies dressed in fleece on sidewalks along paved streets. We sit a little longer on the front porch. We think of making apple cider, some biscuits, maybe a pie for dessert.

We eat soup and hang on, like the last of the yellowing oak leaves, to a hope that the snow will stay up in the air.

We hang on to the colors that don’t dare leave us, the colors that stick out on the landscape and promise a reprieve from the brown…

from the inevitable white that is to come.

We hang on and take trails still made of dirt, breathe in the damp air and find a quiet spot to watch the birds get ready for it too, wondering where they go in times like these…

…wondering if they’d take us too.

Wondering if they are ready.

Missing them already.

Yes, it’s late October and just like us the sun is slower to rise and faster to set, the dog takes pause before he walks out the door,

the horses nibble on hay, the cows stay close to the barn, the birds move in bunches and call to one another “come on, come here, stick close together, we have places to go” as they fly over a landscape that is rough like our skin,


and an earth that has given in to rest and is waiting, like us, for the cold.


13 thoughts on “Waiting for the cold…

  1. It would be great to have these 50’s @ 60’s until mid December but Mother Nature does what Mother Nature wants!! Nice story/pics. Rich

  2. Growing up in the country, we had our fair weather activities and our winter activities. Knitting a pair of socks or a scarf, piecing a quilt, baking something yummy in the kitchen (when Dad didn’t mind the extra heat) and watching the many birds at the bird feeders. People in urban areas tend to gripe about winter, dress too lightly to enjoy it and pray for it to go away. I look forward to the peace of a snowfall and the quiet it brings. And, I love the sound of the snowplows, knowing I don’t have to shovel the road.

  3. My Father-who died in 2001-would always remark that it must be Fall(Winter coming) because the birds are flocking up. Truer words were never spoken…. Rich

  4. Awww come on. The leaves are going and frost is on the ground, Im not wearing flip-flops but my little summer canvas shoes as I slip to the barn to feed the horses in the AM. I get to put my heavy robe on over my searsucker house coat and off we go. The horses all chuckle when I arrive:-)
    The Eagles are migrating and the sun is just coming up. If its not windy I love it. There is Bittersweet everywhere and new migrating birds by the hoards
    Dont give up the ghost yet Jess theres alot of Fall yet to appreciate…….Please?

  5. Autumn is something I have never seen or experienced… I am from the other side of the world.. Love the shades of autumn.
    I have only read about the life in a ranch. Your pictures convey a lot to me.

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