Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Mid-season report

The leaves in our neighborhood are showing more and more color. Even the pines have lots of golden needles mixed in with their green. The black cherry tree behind the property hasn't yet started its transition to bright orange but I expect that within the next week or so. I saw the first junco of the season on the deck yesterday. A red bellied woodpecker has been visiting the feeders with some regularity and either a downy or hairy woodpecker started showing up in the past few days. The chickadees seem quite pleased as they drink from the bird bath. A bluejay actually took a bath in it the other day. I wonder how long it will be before I have to plug it in to keep the water from freezing. I'm curious to see who will come to visit it.

black cherry tree in autumn color
black cherry tree in autumn color
Photo by J. Harrington

I've seen reports in the past day or so that sandhill cranes are migrating south and the monarch butterflies have arrived in Texas. That's consistent with the fact that I've seen neither in this vicinity for some time now. New on the scene yesterday was a local eruption of clouds of Asian Ladybugs filling the air, looking for a warm spot to spend the cold season? Transitions from one season to another are a constant of life around here. They're just more obvious during some seasons than others. I hope climate change never gets enough out of hand that we lose most of the pleasures of seasonal change. Enjoying four seasons and the natural changes that go with them is another aspect of my vision of a sustainable future. Aldo Leopold said it memorable in A Sand County Almanac:
“There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot.”

sandhill crane flocks
sandhill crane flocks
Photo by J. Harrington

Final Autumn

By Annie Finch 
Maple leaves turn black in the courtyard.
Light drives lower and one bluejay crams
our cold memories out past the sun,

each time your traces come past the shadows
and visit under my looking-glass fingers
that lift and block out the sun.

Come—I’ll trace you one final autumn,
and you can trace your last homecoming
into the snow or the sun.


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