The Mast-Head: Fall’s Slow Fall

Fall turned, twisted, and curled on the stem and lingered in the air much longer than usual.

The leaves are for the most part down from the trees in East Hampton. They were late in falling, it seems, though I was not watching the calendar all that closely. 

But I think fall turned, twisted, and curled on the stem and lingered in the air much longer than usual. No fall storms to speak of came through to tear them away. The mild temperature that lingered until it was at least Halloween held off the trees’ torpor.

The last of the leaves from the trees above the Star parking lot fell as if dumped from a truck over the weekend. The black cherry that in summer drops its fruit onto the cars released its yellow cargo all at once.

On Monday morning, early, before most of the staff had arrived, they were there, like a carpet of gold. A neighbor’s beech, still in faded copper, the only one left in gravity’s queue.

East Hampton Village has been quieter than normal this fall, the usual leaf blowers neither deployed as long nor as frequently as in the past. Fall’s slow fall has made for easier cleanup; the roar of the village’s vacuum truck past the windows less frequent. Across Main Street at Guild Hall, and at the library next door, the leaves seemed to have been dealt with swiftly and without much fuss. 

For the most part, I raked the office leaves myself. Already dried, like canvas sails left aloft in the harbor, they moved smartly in front of the metal tines. By the end of next week, they should all be gone. The village workers with the vacuum truck will make their last passes. The trees will be fully bare, their fractal limbs tracing like bloodlines against the sky.