The castaway leaves of the first full day of autumn have already covered over the gravel of the drive up between maple trees, smothering my wood stacks, hiding the metal of the shed roof, and spilling with the wind into the gutters. The Great Winding Down has officially begun. Tomorrow’s day will be minutes shorter than today’s, its night a few minutes longer.
I thought of this pattern looking at the snail (resident still up to date on his rent, but his insulated door was closed to guests) that I spotted along the “middle road” yesterday. Doors you ask? Let Robert Krulwich explain.
The snail winds out as it grows, its most youthful apartment still present as the innermost coil. It adds rooms (in a mathematically-predictable ratio) as it grows. You can see the faint striations like rows and brick and mortar of the new digs after construction is temporarily complete.
Autumn feels more like a coiling within, the rooms getting smaller as the days get shorter, the space that contains me a single room with a coffee pot, a wood stove, and a dog.
This winter, a likely new member of this snowy-day crew will huddle near the glass door of the stove on a January day. And therein lies a tale. But I’m not allowed to go there. Not yet. Maybe soon.
And then, ah then…when the grass greens and the snows melt, the great uncoiling. Also a la Mr. Krulwich…
“…months later, when temperatures rise and the sun stays longer in the sky, the snail somehow senses springtime coming, breaks down its doors and steps out for a stretch and another season of crawling, eating and, with a little luck, loving. It all happens slowly, of course, but it happens year after year.
Doors are built. Doors are de-doored, the dance goes on, snail-style.”