First Frost

crabapplesThese are the mornings to remember in winter. In the stillness of the clear night, frost came down for the first time, leaving the roadside grasses hoary. Now,as if in a dream, I’m walking towards the rising sun with the ragged waning moon hanging over my shoulder. Ahead of me, in the distant, mist-shrouded bay is an exultant burst of calling of the wild geese resting on the lake—maybe a hundred of them now. Who could hear this urgent trumpeting and not be drawn forward, through the drifting, fast-receding mist?

Only the early afoot would be aware of this magical time. Even as I move through the rising vapors around a roadside pond, the sun is ever-stronger on my face. Overhead, at the sky’s zenith, there is the clear blue promise of a fine day to come. For a few minutes, back on earth, I continue in muffled silence. The mist, clings to me, with a breath which is damp and earthy, followed by renewed clamor from the lake. Then a string of chickadees flits across my path, a promise of winter companionship when all the autumn brightness has gone.

About Peri McQuay

Peri Phillips McQuay is the author of Singing Meadow: The Adventure of Creating a Country Home, The View From Foley Mountain, a book of nature meditations on her experiences living for 30 years at the Foley Mountain Conservation Area and A Wing in the Door: Life With a Red-tailed Hawk is the story of her adventures with Merak, a human-imprinted hawk, who lived free but saw McQuay and her family as her special people. Also Peri has written numerous essays, articles, book reviews and a weekly column, published in the Kingston Whig-Standard Magazine. Her credits include Country Journal, Harrowsmith, Bird Watcher’s Digest, The Snowy Egret, Seasons, The Fiddlehead, Herizons and Brick.
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