Gusts of wind billow the drapes, and the house resounds with a periodic groan as the mulberry branch scrapes the rain gutter. It is a warm wind from the north, sending the few early-fallen dried leaves skittering, filling the night with autumnal sound. The pines spread whispered rumors and the oaks shiver with each shocking gust, their doomed leaves chattering to the oblivious stars. A rain of dislodged acorns clatters on a rooftop, and pine cones drop to the pavement with a loud report. It is a foretaste of fall that still carries summer warmth. From rustled brush and dry lawn, the crickets still sing, while the wind winging south suggests the calls of approaching geese. All the night, the seasons clash; the town sleeps, unheeding.