Roses are still blooming. The deep blue hydrangeas have faded, letting their white, pink and mauve cousins outshine them now. The purple phlox is standing tall and scenting the front porch with its gorgeous fragrance.

The fall flowers are clamoring for attention, too — black-eyed susans, sedum, asters and of course mums, lined up like soldiers at every farmstand and garden center. Hurricane Dorian blew through New England over the last several days, bringing big surf and strong breezes but little damage to the trees and gardens. 

Despite the summer-like beauty I see all around me, we are unmistakably on the march to fall. I leave a soft fleece close by now to pull on as soon as I get up. The blue cotton blanket on my bed, folded and put aside during the summer’s prolonged heat, is back. A strong, cool wind was blowing through the open window as I fed the cat this morning, chilling my bare feet.

The cat knows. Normally, she clamors to go outside as soon as she finishes her breakfast, but this morning she is curled, sphinx-like, on the back of the couch. She is content for the moment to remain inside.

We are not done with fine weather yet. The sun will warm us up later. The cat will take her place on the stone wall. With luck, there are still a few hot days ahead, still meals to be eaten outside. The trees are still green.

But we are on the knife edge right now, balanced between late summer and early fall and very soon we will topple. The leaves will put on their gorgeous show and be done. The flowers in the garden will fade and disappear.

Right now, everything is poised. Go outside and breathe it in. Sit in the grass. Store it up before it goes.

I’ll be right next to you.

Marilyn Archibald ( and blogging at lives and writes in West Newbury and Rockport.

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