This is the next excerpt from Beatrice Allen Page’s unpublished manuscript, Landscape with Figures. This is another of my favorite segments. The sentence that begins “The all at once a fresh northwest breeze sprang up” just kills me. Such imaginative and lovely imagery. Sentences like that remind me of why I loved her so much:
“It was still foggy when I got up this morning but while I was having breakfast, tiny currents of air began to stir just enough to send a kind of ectoplasmic wraith floating past the windows now and then – wisps of fog of a different consistency than the quiescent mass of it. It was the beginning of the fog’s withdrawal. When I stepped out in the yard a little later I saw another indication, according to the old wives’ tale, that the fog would soon burn off: little gossamer webs scattered about on the grass.
I’d like to know what spins them. They’re not woven in traditional spider design like the ones hanging between the posts of the railings; they look like tiny doilies of unbelievably sheer chiffon flung lightly on the lawn. It occurred to me that perhaps they weren’t woven by anything, that the dew had simply arranged itself that way by some means incomprehensible to me. I touched a few experimentally. Instead of vanishing abruptly in a spatter of minute droplets as I had expected, they only stretched and tore, which seemed to indicate they were held together by some sort of tenuous filaments. For a second I even thought I could feel them against my finger but all I could see on my skin was a trace of dew.
By late morning the fog was pulling away slowly as if ceremoniously unveiling the blue sky. Then all at once a fresh northwest breeze sprang up, blowing a dazzling sun into view and the poplars burst into delicate clapping like elderly gentlewomen applauding with kid gloves on. The day turned into one of the most beautiful ones we’ve had all summer.
Nevertheless, some minor changes went on behind the scenes during these past few days of fog. An occasional sumac leaf, for instance, has turned scarlet. The woodbine trailing along the ground shows a twist of red now and again. For the first time I discover thick clusters of frosted berries hiding among the leaves of the bayberry bushes, although they must have been gradually developing for quite awhile, just as the days have been gradually growing shorter although I had not really noticed it until this evening when I suddenly realized it was dark before eight thirty.
Autumn is by no means ready to make her entrance but she is standing in the wings biding her time. One quarter of the year of grace I allowed myself will soon be over. It comes over me that I can’t indefinitely postpone deciding where I shall go when summer ends. I don’t think I could face again the loneliness of staying here by myself when everybody else has left.”