Gray Daze

by Heather Vandenengel

MAURY ISLAND, VASHON, WA — I was feeling a little out of sorts this afternoon for no reason in particular, when I decided I would blame it on the weather. It has been dreary here, cloudy and raining off and on for the last few days and while passing the time in a cozy cabin or in a greenhouse or walking along trails is the optimal condition for this kind of weather, I am missing the sun. I’m not one to get whiny about seasons or weather though (“Why can’t summer last foreverrrr?”), so I will accept autumn and all of its grayness.

About a year ago at this time I was in Maine, on a very similar farm/homestead to the one I’m on now. One night we went to an open mic in a sourdough bread bakery/pizza shop barn and a woman read a few Rilke poems. I was thinking about one of them tonight. Posted below, along with some photos from my creepy run.


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Day in Autumn

by Rainer Maria Rilke


After the summer’s yield, Lord, it is time

to let your shadow lengthen on the sundials

and in the pastures let the rough winds fly.

As for the final fruits, coax them to roundness.

Direct on them two days of warmer light

to hale them golden toward their term, and harry

the last few drops of sweetness through the wine.

Whoever’s homeless now, will build no shelter;

who lives alone will live indefinitely so,

waking up to read a little, draft long letters,

and, along the city’s avenues,

fitfully wander, when the wild leaves loosen.