This morning brought a surprise; a version of the Last Dance I have not seen before.
This has been an odd year, weather-wise; extremely wet in the spring, then extremely dry in late summer and early fall; and cool, throughout. The corn and beans are late and locally stunted by the summer drought; at least one neighbor had corn on shallow soil dry out and die with half-formed ears.
All the trees are showing responses to the year, too; mostly they are running late. The crops we're harvesting are 2 weeks later than average, and still driving our days. The forecasts yesterday were for real frost overnight; we've had a couple "radiation" frosts already, where the air temperature doesn't even hit freezing, but frost forms on grass under open sky anyway; with no real freezes. So I was on alert this morning; up before the sun, not certain what to expect.
Coffee in hand- made on the woodstove this year, since we ran out of propane a month ago and it's been cool enough for the fire to be a comfort since early September, I watched the sun touch the treetops. The walnut to the south of the Little House still has its leaves, and since the thermometer was showing an air temperature of 27°F, a good solid freeze, it really seemed likely they would begin sailing soon.
Nothing. One hackberry leaf.
Eventually, I gave up and turned away from the walnut, wondering how all the various factors had combined this year to leave the leaves still attached- and found that in the little ravine north of the house- the sugar maples were providing a steady rain of bright yellow leaves.
Just the maples on the north slope, very specifically. The sugar maples don't usually participate in the Dances I've watched, and the shower of leaves they were making now was not of the same intensity as a "true" Dance; still, it was noticeable, real, and charming.
Smidgen was up in time to see the last of it, from inside- she was a bit too slow in getting clothes on (she'd still prefer to be a nudist) to get outside while the little rain was going on, but she saw.
Later today, we'll go down the hill, under those maples, and scuff the leaves. She discovered the joys there all by herself, no instruction needed, and kicks the fallen leaves all up and down the paths now, generating lots of noise and mini-whirlwinds of leaves as she goes.
Not the full experience- but plenty, today.