The morning after the first windy night in autumn, the house is cold, and we’re all looking in cupboards for extra blankets and hot water bottles. We’re ridiculously underprepared—windows with no curtains, heaters tucked at the back of the garage, summer clothes.
But there’s suddenly more sky when I step outside. The tall slim willow that shades the back deck has lost most of its leaves, very quickly. I can see the ridge line of the top of the escarpment through the crepe myrtle. The garden feels big and bright and connected to everything, instead of guarded within itself by perimeter trees.
And the wind has blown the lid off one of the compost bins and taken out the stevia seedling. The soil in the new vegetable patch has shifted visibly and needs patting down a bit. The curry leaf tree seeding that I was growing for someone has taken a hit. A top heavy pelargonium in a pot toppled over and lost a layer of soil. At times like this the urge is to rush around with buckets of water to try to help out, and then of course something that’s already struggling to stand up to a stiff cold wind is also in a swamp.
When I hang out the washing, Jazz the amber dog who used to be a puppy lies very flat to watch me through a gap under the fence that’s barely wider than her nose. She has been tunnelling there for a while, and they have propped up a floorboard to stop her escaping, but really what has caught her out is that she has grown too fast to fit through the hole she was digging. I always go over for a talk, and hold her paw. At night I hear her barking when a cat goes past, and then all the dogs in the street start up.