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The Light Has Changed

Long evening sun on an Autumn evening.

The light has changed. Once green and encouraging, vital and vibrant, now yellow, hesitant, fading, drawn thin but beautiful. It has changed.

The once sun catching 6:00 a.m. alarm sounds in the dark as the wind blows, the house hums, flexing and groaning. The soughing wind whispers, 'I am going, I am going...' in the vents and window frames.

Tree limbs rattle and let go of leaves in the skirl, succumbing to autumn. Goats huddle in low spots, under shrubs, next to trunks of trees, laying together in these hidden places, close for warmth and camaraderie against the scything season. They know there is strength in numbers. Chipmunks and squirrels whole body shuffle through fallen leaves, hunting for a season's bounty of nuts, constantly wary of danger from above and to the sides. Frost appears sporadically at first, cold air running down hill as liquid mercury. It pools and rises each night, an invisible ocean tide, leaving a new high water mark of cold burned ground each morning. Soon, the world will be inundated with the frigid air, but for now the seas still recede during the warmth of the day. Cows grumble, complain, search out the last stems of clover untouched by hoar, unwilling to eat the green, lush but tough fescue while there is still a memory of summer's tender bounty. Farm cats yammer for food at the door, hovering, prize the extra calories over their vaunted independence - begin to reinhabit their snug cat motel.

A hornets nest hangs abandoned and forlorn in a honey locust tree.

As trees clear of resident leaves, hidden nests appear as if by magic - robin, hummingbird, cardinal, even a hornet, the most special and ephemeral prize, its guardians gone the way of the dodo for the season. The farmers, now bundled, work at slower, longer, less charged tasks, end of season chores, looping hose, spooling fence, mending that which was damaged by the demands of summer. Things to be put away, stored for the coming winter. A slow sleepiness approaches. All these things change and change again as autumn dances her reel.

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