As we dip into Autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere, we find each day a wee bit shorter. The slant of the sun cuts deeper. Dusk arrives a moment earlier than the day before. There is a change in the air, imperceptible at first, more certain when the Harvest Moon arrives.
This is the most magical of seasons as nature slowly prepares for winter. Where would we be without Autumn? What force of nature would strew seeds from summer’s bounty with such precision? Where we get a palette of colors so rich and varied and inviting?
Here on the Cutoff, the squirrels are busy gathering nuts. One leapt across the lawn yesterday, short hops then long leaps, the letter S in perpetual motion. He had a walnut, still in its husk, wedged in his mouth, and looked like a fur-bit carrying a holiday ornament in search of a fir tree. He stopped in his serpentine movements, gave me the once-cover, then scurried away, with nary a sound. To chatter would have meant losing the walnut he fully intended to bury somewhere. He’ll never remember where, but, bury it he will. Maybe, just maybe, a tree will grow from his long-forgotten stash.
The deer have begun their rut. It is quite a sight to behold. I always know when a buck is around by the leaping and running of the does. It’s a wonder to watch them in their homecoming dance; myself a chaperone from the window. Careful observation usually finds a randy stag on the perimeter, choosing just the right girl to waltz with.
Birds swoop in masses, eat seeds, and drink from the bird baths. Some will stay for the winter. Most will fly south to warmer climes. Soon, we will hear the gurgling trumpets of sandhill cranes high above the clouds. Canadian geese will gather and fly in their signature V pattern as they head to their seasonal refuges. The hummingbirds and wren will venture south.
For me, it is time to begin clearing out the potted plants. The heat, then the cool weather and forceful winds that came through have had their way with some sorry specimens that need to be culled. This is a welcome chore, however, for the vegetation will make its way to the compost heap; fodder for worms and the rich, new blankets of soil to enrich our gardens.
Autumn, itself, is fodder for the coming year. It is a slow preparation for the long winter months , but, I’m getting ahead of the seasons in thinking that, for first there is Autumn to enjoy, with all its color and richness, scents and excitement. It is fodder for the soul.
Off I got, a-pottering.