South Common, Columbus Day

White tips on the close-cropped sloping lawns of the Common this morning before the sun is full up. Trees coming to total change, some of them most of the way there. Saturated crimson crown near the corner of Thorndike and Highland. Big honking candy-corn orange maple blasts color near the tennis court. In the dim light pre-7 a.m., the early dog-walkers and train-catchers move along the paved paths. Always special to be out and about the city on a holiday morning, lucky to have the extra day off, particularly this holiday in a lot of people’s favorite month. Well into football season, hockey just coming up over the horizon, baseball in its final stretch, and basketball waiting for the others to get out of the way—the closest thing to gone July will be an Indian summer day here and there. At home across the street, lawn furniture is half in. The garden is falling down, but in a good way, tomato plants stringy and yellowed, stone-crop like red broccoli, wild mums putting out pink daisy-like blossoms, pink geraniums and purple petunias hanging on, and at mid-field the zinnias strong as linebackers in bright shiny helmets. Except for the corner monuments, the Common lacks flowers. The dominant green of spring and summer at least now relieved by foliage and spreading aprons of tan pine needles under the evergreens. At a distance, the fallen dried leaves resemble pencil shavings in piles almost deep enough to kick. It’s been a steady run for most folks since Labor Day, so this fall break is a good time-out. The weeks will move quickly now, ticking toward the showy holidays and year-end rituals. October’s back half can be prime time if we get plenty of sun and dry days.