Silence and darkness grow apace, broken only by the crack of a hunter’s gun in the woods. Songbirds abandon us so gradually that, until the day when we hear no birdsong at all but the scolding of the jay, we haven’t realized that we are bereft — as after a death. Even the sun has gone off somewhere. By teatime the parlor is as black as the inside of a cupboard.
Reading after supper on the couch, I let my mind wander to the compost pile, bulging with leaves and stalks. I’ve turned it a few times since October, but the pile’s hard surface no longer yields to the fork. Even the earthworms have retreated from the cold and closed the door behind them. There’s an oven warm at the pile’s center, but you have to take that on faith. Now we all come in, having put the garden to bed, and we wait for winter to pull a chilly sheet over its head.
~Jane Kenyon from “Good-by and Keep Cold”