Ssshhhh....! Do you hear her? She whispers at the edge of the breeze that blows the summer sun across your hair, and she breathes quietly from up in the forest where the huckleberries are ripening. You have to listen, but you can hear her for sure. There is a different sound in the way the forest floor crackles when she is near. The light changes, and the twilights begin to hint at a very specific peachy sort of glow. That always happens when she is beginning to come near enough to touch.
I do love her. I found a character sketch of her in the book my husband bought me for my birthday in the brighter, sharper light of July. The child in The Valley of Song hears the sounds and realizes that "there was music in this valley, but not of bird song and falling streams as in Tabitha's valley. Here the music was of the waves breaking along the shore, the sea wind rustling in the silver leaves of the olive trees, and a strange wild haunting melody that was like nothing Tabitha had heard before. Had she ever heard a harp played she would have been reminded of that, yet it was not harp music. It was lament and triumph in one. It was a wild desire to be gone and the sorrow of parting. It was an autumnal song. It was weeping and laughter. It was darkness and light and being born."
I brought home some of the huckleberries from the higher elevations of the forest today, and tomorrow, for the second Saturday in a row, we'll have them in pancakes because that seems to bring out their flavor like nearly nothing else. Tomorrow in the morning, I will breathe the breath that whispers in anticipation. She is nearly here. She is nearly here.
And in the meantime, to touch and handle while we wait, there are the brambles and brambles and brambles of blackberries. The stickery stems by the driveway are ripe first. Perhaps they get more sun in that place. In the space of about a half an hour, I had eight cups of sticky, bursting berries in my container - and several scratches and bloody places on my hand and arm. You have to fight for blackberries.
But I don't mind. I know that the cobbler with cream is what we eat when the slow and calm descent of the lady autumn has begun. I saw where she'd brushed past the vine maples and turned them the color of wine up in the woods today. I saw the reddening rusty color of the huckleberry stems and I heard the sound of her voice far away up the mountains of the forest. This is the time of year when I find myself holding my breath in anticipation and have to stop to think just why. She is coming. She is coming. And she is beautiful.