Tween Season


Right now, nearly mid-October, the SageCliffe land is going     through as many changes as a ‘tween;’ not quite far enough long in the year to be pre-teen or teen, but certainly past the child days of summer.  To walk the property right now is to see everything from green, green grass around the Inn and the pond, to the bumpy orange and white squash lying among their own vines and leaves–which are starting to brown and decay–to red-red and partly-red apples on the orchard trees, to rock-hard pans of dirt in the cold early-morning hours.  There is, sometimes in the scope of just a few minutes, sun, warmth, breezes, high winds, cool wet showers, dark massing clouds, baby-blue cloudless skies, and sun yet again.  Emotional and dramatic; much like a ‘tween.  The ground is both browns and greens; the Columbia River 900 feet below the property loses its Paul Newman-blues and takes on a blue-grey sheen that echoes the layers of basalt in the cliffs above.  Wild mustard grows in healthy tufts among grey-green sagebrush.  The vineyards are no longer lush green; the vine leaves are a darker green now, and begining to brittle.  The colors are a mottled sunset of reds, oranges, yellows, ochre. As the vines lose their leaves, the vines themselves take on a larger, more noticeable role:  thick, sinewy brown vines that look too wooden to have twisted themselves into such elegant scarecrow poses; arms draped down along the trellis wires; not-quite straight stems rooted in their mounds of hardened, rock-pebbled earth.  The poplar trees that soldier in their straight lines along each side of the entry drive skip the red, changing apparently overnight from green to yellow; the undersides of their small, disc-shapd leaves catching the late afternoon sun like showers of countless falling gold coins.  Soon the green will all but disappear, and then, as the snow comes, so will the brown.  But for now, the palette is broad, and the colors deep and rich.  ‘Tweens, it seems, can be breathtakingly beautiful.

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