October 1, 2009: Frost arrived overnight. Its white crystals settled down into the rough edges of the land – into the field and savannah, the hillsides and rock pikes, into every fold of every leaf. It was an early frost – weeks ahead of schedule – and much heavier than a first frost usually is. But then, it is October, the season when things change.
I dawdled in the morning, ignoring the late rising sun. I stopped for coffee along the road, and let the moments of the morning slip through my fingers, unaware. Under the trees in the forest melting frost fell like a light, steady rain. By the time I got to the old farmstead the frost was nearly gone. I managed just a couple of shots before the air temperature rose past some imperceptible tipping point, and the frost suddenly disappeared – all of it, everywhere, all at once.
So much for the frost.
But a good freeze changes things. It comes and goes, but leaves its mark behind. A glorious autumn day unfolded before me. Bright and still-warm sun in a deep azure sky warmed up the woods and fields around me, and I spent several hours knocking around the game area.
Bird hunters were everywhere, as you’d expect this time of year, but there were few gunshots.
Come October, I know that I won’t see any small dragonflies other than Autumn Meadowhawks. A few days earlier darners – common green and more exotic blue – could be seen dashing above the fields. Maybe it was the heavy frost – but even by mid afternoon, there were no darners to be found and only a handful of Meadowhawks stirred as I wandered through the fields.
When did the spring frosts stop? Was it long ago? It seems like yesterday, and here now the autumn frost curls up in the grass. Aside from a few holdouts, the dragons slumber underwater. Their nascent dreams, hardly formed, float like ghosts in cloudy dragon minds.