John Keats called autumn the season of “mists and mellow fruitfulness,” but there is nothing mild about this particular mist. It came in the night on a cold wind that rattled the windows, and it lingered after the cold rains moved out this morning. It seems to mean that we will have no autumn at all this year. The long, desultory summer has finally given way, but it has not given way to fall. Winter is here now, and to signal its arrival we got just a single night of wind and rain, a single morning of mist beading in the air above the pond and blowing off with the wind gusts.
It won’t last. In Tennessee we don’t get much of a winter any more, and highs below freezing are random and uncommon. Still, I like the idea of this mist as much as I enjoy the lovely mist itself. Aren’t transitions always marked by tumult and confusion? How comforting it would be to say, as a matter of unremarkable fact, “I’m wandering in the mist just now. It will blow off in a bit.”