Golden days, the last of the year

Here’s a brief but picture-perfect look at the closing season by Max Frisch written in 1946, courtesy of Words without Borders:

Another series of golden days, the last of the year. The mornings, when I ride to work on my bicycle, are cold and damp; the leaves cling to the road surface, the lake is silver-gray, and all one sees are buoys floating in a shoreless waste, lonely and empty of boats, unreflecting, white seagulls on the railings. Usually the decisive moment comes at about eleven o’clock, when the bells are ringing. There are still no shadows to betray the sun; but one can feel its presence; the clockfaces gleam on the church towers. Mist, when one looks up into the sky, glitters like bronze-colored dust; then suddenly it is gone, leaving only blueness; suddenly a strip of watery sunlight falls across the drawing board —

And now, once more, there it all is: the fermenting wine and the wasps buzzing in bottles, the shadows in the gravel, the golden silence of decay with all its magic, clucking hens in the meadows, a teeming mass of brown pears scattered over the highway, asters hanging over a wire fence, starlike shapes of blood-red fire dissolving in all directions, a bluish light beneath the trees. It is as if everything were now taking leave of itself; the rustling foliage of a poplar, the metallic sheen on the fallen fruit, smoke from the fields, where they are burning shrubs. Below, behind a trellis of vines, the lake glitters. The sun is already rusting in the haze of midafternoon. Then the journey home without an overcoat, hands in pockets, a damp carpet of leaves which no longer rustle, wine presses in the vineyard, the dripping barrels in the twilight, the red lamps on a landing stage shrouded in mist —

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