Summer’s End

 

We need water badly.  Little rain for the past month has taken the starch out of the leaves, fall blossoms…and me.  A wet early summer has turned into a dry late summer.  A cold front is on the way…a dry cold front.  Rain is as likely as me eating Pumpkin Spice Spam…well, Spam period.

The dry weather seems to have angered the already angry yellow jackets too…I think my mere presence angers the yellow jackets.  I water my bride’s flowers daily so she doesn’t get carried off or bled dry by mosquitoes.  The yellow jackets appreciate the water, they just don’t appreciate the person laying it down.  Three have expressed a stinging rebuke of me over the past week along with two red wasps adding their own firey reprimand.  Fair is fair.  I dislike them too and retaliate with wasp and hornet spray.  “Die you little bastards, DIE!”  I may be as angry the yellow jackets.

My own anger comes from more than the lack of water or hostile flying assholes.  Less than a week from the Fall Equinox, despite the summer-like temperatures, I can tell the seasons are changing.

“All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven.”  Or, if you like the Byrds better, “To everything, turn, turn, turn.  There is a season, turn, turn, turn”…so forth and so on.

A change in wind direction causes falling leaves to swirl.   The wind still blows warm but the fallen leaves crunching underfoot turns the backyard into a minefield of sorts.  Searching for puppy leavings and not finding any until I step on them.  Not realizing I stepped on a turd taco until I get back into the house.

Being knocked unconscious by this year’s bumper crop of falling black walnuts or rolling an ankle over on those already on the ground when not paying attention.  I hate black walnuts almost as much as yellow jackets.

Oh, Lawd, gutters to clean out and what to do with Linda’s plants as the temperatures fall.  The power washing I didn’t get to do in the spring.  Wood to cut and split. Time to pay the piper I suppose.  “All things have their season” and ’tis the season of doing today what you should have done three months ago.

I’m of two minds…both very small.  I welcome the fall temperatures while lamenting the end of summer and the shortened days.  I don’t know why I lament.  I’ve been very non-productive this summer…can I be less productive in the fall?  Yeah….

Will we even have a fall?  Some years autumn in the foothills of the Blue Ridge lasts for a whole two hours on the third Tuesday of October.  Otherwise, it is straight from summer to winter.  The weather has been so crazy maybe this year summer will last through winter…”But the mosquitoes!”  It doesn’t seem to matter about the mosquitoes.  If they can survive in the sub-Arctic tundra, they will have no problem here.

Bonfires, hoodies, boots traded for flip-flops, Wranglers for shorts…there will be no bonfires if we don’t get some rain and I don’t ever totally put away my flips.

Store promotions ignoring Halloween and Thanksgiving while attempting to sell Christmas tree lights and tinsel.  It’s a month and a half till Halloween Wally World, two to Thanksgiving.  You’ve already turned your garden area into a bicycle area.  Slow it down a bit okay?

Pumpkin spice…pumpkin spice everywhere.  In an autumn beer?  In Spam?  Pumpkin spice should be limited to pumpkin pie and pumpkin pie…well…should be limited.  Does citronella come in pumpkin spice scent?  Pumpkin spice scented Deep Woods OFF!  I’m sure the mosquitoes would love it.

“To every season” maybe my problem.  Every time I turn around it seems I’m facing a changing season.  The realization that there are fewer seasons ahead than behind?  As God or the Byrd’s song reminds me, “A time to be born, a time to die, A time to plant, a time to reap, A time to kill, a time to heal, A time to laugh, a time to weep.”  I don’t know if I should laugh or weep.

Quotes are from:

Ecclesiastes 3, 1-8

“Turn, Turn, Turn” The Byrds, 1965

The image of Pumpkin Spice Spam https://www.spam.com/varieties/pumpkin-spice

For more click on https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

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Red, Gold, and Brown

 

I awoke troubled this Sunday morning…not unusual for any morning.  Nothing earth-shattering…maybe our biannual changing of the clocks or the impending trip to my polling station on Tuesday…or the possible outcomes I will find out about later in the night.  I just don’t know where we are headed.  The time may not be the only thing falling back with the season.

Still, I had a beautiful morning walk.  Well, it ended beautifully.  It began cool and crisp.  Fall is finally here…or early winter, it was thirty-nine as I set out.  There were trees with leaves of gold and red.  Leaves carpeted the narrow road I walked, silencing my footfalls but not my thoughts.

I was still troubled and tried to bury myself in the music coming from my earbuds until the earbuds died.  An irritating voice informed me of “low power.”  Need to recharge them more often…me or the earbuds?  There was nothing to drown out my thoughts, so I was forced to deal with them.

I worked on my latest book…in my head.  An action romance, I’m struggling with an ending…no I’m just struggling.  I worked on how my sterling hero could ride in and save the day.  I came up with a plot twist…maybe.  If I don’t go on and write it down  I’ll soon forget it.

Finally, I had nothing to do but look around at my surroundings.

Glancing down I did a hop, skip and a jump, scuttling sideways to avoid the snake.  “Little guy, what are you doing here?”, a corn snake, all red, gold and brown.  With our screwy weather, he hadn’t realized he should be hibernating and was attempting to raise his body temperature on the side of the tar and gravel road.

So cold!  I thought he was dead until I touched him with the toe of my shoe.  He moved…not much but he moved.  What to do?  If I leave him here, he is likely to get run over.  Oh goodness, I’m going to have to pick him up…I hate touching snakes even though I know they are not cold and slimy as I thought as a child…well, this one was pretty cold.

I saw a moss-covered flat rock and a patch of grass bathed in sunlight.  The brown blades of grass glowed gold, the mica in the rock flashed like diamonds.  Unfortunately, they were in different places.   The rock would soon be shaded as the sun rose.

“Stay here little guy, I’ll get you to a sunny spot.”  I needn’t have worried.  He was still too cold to move.  Picking up the rock I moved it to the sun and then carefully moved “Corny” to a perch on top of it before bidding him a fond adieu.

The lake was as calm, not a ripple.  Fog rose three or four feet before disappearing into the air.  Fish rolled in the shadows and the trees were reflected in the water.  There were more reds and golds and a single purple wildflower.  I paused to bask in the golden sunlight finally appearing from the southeast.  I don’t believe I could have summoned a nicer morning with a Vodun spell.

I had to get back home to clean up and dress for church but not before I checked on “Corny.”  He was gone, and I was glad…he must have taken my troubling thoughts with him.

Don Miller’s author’s page may be accessed at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

The image came from http://www.outdooralabama.com