When I went outside this morning for the paper you wouldn’t have guessed that a Frankenstorm with the friendly name of Sandy is barreling down to whack the Northeast. Early morning in Ridgefield was partly sunny at a warm 54 degrees with the smell of rotting leaves being blown around by a light wind. With the exception of our oaks and Japanese maples, all the big deciduous trees dropped their leaves in the last few days as would Gipsy Rose Lee her last garment.
With all the news reports and last year’s double hit of Hurricane Irene and Snotober, few of us Connecticut Yankees were leaving anything to chance and were bringing in any outdoor furniture that should have been stored weeks ago. A storm has an effect that neither a spouse nor a guilty conscious can. You are driven to get all those things done that have been piling up immediately without delay.
Unclog gutters. Done.
Bring in furniture. Complete.
Unhang bird feeders. Sorry birds (and squirrels.)
Remove chimes. Yup.
Set up, prime basement siphon. Finished.
These and dozens of other chores consume you without the indecision that beguiles weekend work. Storms like Sandy redefine the coulds and shoulds in the garden. As I check off my list of chores, I reflect back on what I have done during the year and secretly wonder how many of my gains will be eliminated in the next few days. I know that I will have a week’s worth of work in front of me; I just don’t know what it will be.
In preparation, I keep coming across the flowers of the season as well as some rogues. Roses, asters, chrysanthemums, cosmos and some lantanas that should have died a long time ago still pose for admirers. The fruits of the season from crabapple trees, winterberry and beautyberry bushes are thick and should feed the birds for the next few months.
As everything begins to fade, our witch hazel have broken out with spectacular and thick yellow flowers. The lateness of its bloom implies that its pollinators are wearing little vests or sweaters as they jump from blossom to blossom. I’m afraid, however, that these blossoms and their neighbors will be stripped from their perches in the next day or two.