Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Summer ebbs, Autumn rises

Soy bean fields are slowly turning golden. Corn is starting to dry and turn tan and tattered. Sumac is red and maroon. Maple leaves are flaming. Tamaracks and aspens are yellowing before needle and leaf fall. Flocks of flickers are heading south. Soon we'll see murmurations of blackbirds. Late Summer's lethargy is leaving. Autumnal activity is accelerating. That may help explain

Tamarack needles yellowing
Photo by J. Harrington

why yesterday I transported and released about 2 miles distant chipmunk number eleven. The last 3 or 4 have been captured in the Hav-a-Hart trap with no bait at all. From now on, and all of next season, I'm planning on using a tool offered by my Better Half [BH]. She provided me what's left of a spray can of "neon hair spray." I want to know if we're catching the same critter more than once because I find it really hard to believe that we have that many chipmunks around the house. On the other hand, I'm really dubious that any of them are travelling a couple of miles (as the crow flies) just to get back to our local sunflower seed supply.

Since there's less than a week left in meteorological Summer, today we're going to note that, although we didn't get out trout fishing, we did manage a couple of fly-fishing trips to the St. Croix, took a number of nice photos, took several pleasant trips with the BH, had some fun with the Daughter Person and her fiancee, avoided serious injury, met some nice folks, made progress on a poetry / photography project I'm working on and had one of my poems selected as a Popular Choice winner at the Northwoods Art and Poetry Fair. All in all, Summer's cup was at least half full. I hope yours was as good or better.

One of the definitive indications that Summer is over is that kids are back in school, and so am I. Tonight I'm starting a class on lyric essays at The Loft Literary Center. Who knows, I may even share some of the assignments, or practice them, here. In the interim, enjoy this lyric about a different chipmunk.

For the Chipmunk in My Yard

By Robert Gibb 

I think he knows I’m alive, having come down
The three steps of the back porch
And given me a good once over. All afternoon
He’s been moving back and forth,
Gathering odd bits of walnut shells and twigs,
While all about him the great fields tumble
To the blades of the thresher. He’s lucky
To be where he is, wild with all that happens.
He’s lucky he’s not one of the shadows
Living in the blond heart of the wheat.
This autumn when trees bolt, dark with the fires
Of starlight, he’ll curl among their roots,
Wanting nothing but the slow burn of matter
On which he fastens like a small, brown flame.

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Please be kind to each other while you can.