In the wildlife preserve that is my home, a change of season is rapidly approaching. Approaching but not yet here and in all likelihood, we will not experience significant temperature and humidity changes for another six weeks or so.
I calculate the middle of October, or thereabouts, before any serious changes. There will be some cool mornings followed by blistering afternoons. Maybe a frost in late October followed by a forty or fifty degree temperature increase by afternoon…but it is 2020 and I will not wager a bet or even venture a guess on anything weather related.
The calendar tells me it is slightly less than a month from the Autumn Equinox but it is still ‘dead of Summer’ hot and humid with myriads of mosquitoes and gnats in my little piece of heaven.
As I type this, a hurricane is pumping tropical air our way, but the crystal gazers of weather say lower humidity is filling in behind it. I hope their crystal ball is not broken but trust them no more than a midway carney playing three-card monte or a fortune-teller named Momma Amelia.
I predict that mosquitoes and gnats, along with the humidity, will be with us well past Indian Summer…maybe well past Christmas. Such is the world I live in. Since it is 2020, hurricanes may be with us until the new year.
Despite the heat and humidity, there is a difference I both feel and see. The sunlight is a bit more golden, the wind angling from a slightly different direction, the days a bit shorter and myriads of yellow wildflowers of different types are blooming with bees working them with a frenzy driven by the change of seasons.
It is as if all the insects have decided they must “make hay while the sun shines.” Even the “snake doctors” residing at the lake where I meander are more numerous and in an eating hysteria. They are voracious and eat just about anything, mosquitoes, tadpoles, fish, other insect larvae, and even each other. With the numbers of mosquitoes present, I would say dragonfly cannibalism has been placed on the back burner.
Yellow is the color of the season. Bees, bugs, caterpillars, and butterflies seem to incorporate yellows and golds to match the sunshine. The new wildflowers are yellow, Black, and Brown-eyed Susan, the bane to my existence, goldenrod, and varieties I have no clue as to their names. There are none of my favorites, my sunflowers. For some reason, not one planted survived. The curse of 2020…or deer and raccoons.
There are colors other than yellow, some purple or light blue, maybe a hint of pink. The white and pink Abelia shrub attracts black and yellow butterflies…or is it yellow and black butterflies? There are black and blue ones also.
I have massive Pokeweed with purple berries the birds seem to ignore but not my t-shirt as I saunter past. More than once my bride has panicked “What have you done to yourself?” “Nothing my love…this time at least.” I understand her concern.
Insects are not alone in their frenzy. I just startled a chipmunk with a mouth stretched tight with sunflower seeds, cute little chubby cheeked thing. A squirrel was seen burying a black walnut in my wife’s planter. Will he remember where it is when he needs it?
I’ve seen evidence of my wild turkeys and deer. They have been absent all summer but may be on the move. There are tracks and scratches everywhere. I know the turtles are moving, their yellow and orange splotches shining in the sun. I moved three from the road today and two from the path I was cutting.
It won’t be long until the long vees of ducks and geese will be seen. I wonder if the old coot at the lake will stay or make his migration. Where do coots go in the fall?
I am reminded of the fable of the grasshopper and ant. The ant worked his behind off all summer long while the grasshopper jumped and sang the summer away. As the seasons change, I feel much more like the grasshopper than the ant. I admit I don’t jump quite as high and my song may be a bit off-key. I also admit I haven’t gotten a lot done this season.
Well, there is the rest of the summer to make hay…or cut wood…or put in the fall garden…or clean-up the yard that I’ve allowed to revert back to an old-growth forest. Yep, there is time…right after I jump and sing and after a short nap.
From 1934 The Grasshopper and the Ants
Don Miller’s author’s page may be found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM?fbclid=IwAR3-Y9SE4wsP0I2tn3R8VkrP6WR89h6xUmPGnjRksOLNSeBKswbUoCgHNsY
The image of sunflowers is from https://www.housebeautiful.com/lifestyle/gardening/a27545572/save-the-bees-plant-sunflowers/