After coffee, she put on her hooded flannel jacket and went out to the pasture. Mav was inside his little barn, head down, obviously asleep. “Hey, buddy, come and get your flake.” He looked up with a low nicker. “Here, have some horse granola too. It’s going to storm, don’t you think?” she asked, pouring oats over his hay. She leaned into him and he returned the weight of her affection, then began to chew.
She walked to the garden and steadied the gate banging in the wind. Putting the garden to bed was always such a sad day. The winter garden seemed almost a graveyard, holding memories of the season’s yields and its idiosyncrasies—the volunteer cilantro that had pushed up in all the corners, and the weird-looking hard green squash with little frowning frog faces. She’d thought that the seed packet said “Patty Pan.”
Zipping up her jacket and putting the hood over her bed-messed hair, she walked the rows, saying goodbye. The rosemary looked as if it wanted to spend the winter on a sunny Greek island. The sunflowers bowed low on their spindly stalks, their hearts an empty geometry of brown disks. The green beans, now a deadened rust, slumped over the trellis as if admitting defeat. The sky darkened even more. An unclaimed melancholy swept over her as she stared at the tomatoes, withered and pleated, deflated like the shriveled balls of old men.