October is heading over the horizon and it’s bringing with it all the colors–the golds and reds and browns–of a season that doesn’t stay long enough.
And it’s leaving a trail of frost in its wake.
I see it in the mornings, sparkling and shimmering on the railing of my deck, on the cracked windshield of the pickup, on the leftover leaves and acorns on the trails,
on the stems of the grass and the crust of the dirt.
I am digging out my sweaters again. Funny how it’s only been five months since I packed them away but I can’t seem to remember where they went.
Funny how it’s only been a few weeks since the sun touched my legs and already my skin is fading into its pale winter shade.
I run my hands over the horses’ backs and notice they’re changing too, long scruffy hair growing in to protect them from the promised winter winds.
We are becoming the season it seems.
I’m sipping tea to ward of the little scratch in my throat, the little runny nose that I acquired when the cold came in.
I am North Dakota. Personified in the permanent chilled flush in my cheeks, rolling up the hoses and packing away the cutoff shorts. Swapping cowboy boots for winter boots and my straw hat for one that is knit and covers my ears.
If I were California I would never change. If I were California I would wear summer dresses all year and never be ashamed of my scaly winter skin. I would eat orange popsicles and sip iced tea and put fresh flowers in a vase on my table every week. I would be sun kissed and golden and I wouldn’t wear socks.
Especially not wool socks.
If I were California I would be beautiful all year.
But I am North Dakota and my flowers have dried up now. And we are beginning our predictably unpredictable decent into winter.
The ice rests lightly on the water in the stock tank.
The air bites and the trees have stripped down to sleep. I am cutting potatoes for soup, boiling water and feeling weighed down but hungry the way only Northerners can feel.
If I were a beast I would hibernate.
If I had wings I would fly toward the sun.
If I were a legend I would find a way to catch the snow in my hands and send it back up.
Back up for another month.
And back down in December when winter is welcome.