- Dramatic changes in two weeks have heralded the entry into colder weather. Almost overnight, literally overnight in some cases, leaves switched from green to gold. Scarlet above became common. Orange gleamed on hills. And beneath was brown, more brown, and piles of brown.
- Some seasons glide in gracefully, almost unnoticed. That is unfortunately often the pattern in spring, when I keep expecting better weather than there could possibly be. This autumn has held on to summer conditions way beyond normal. Although much appreciated, that has left little time for transition to cold wind and bare branches.
- For weeks now, hickory nut bombs have been shattering on pavement or denting roofs and unwary cars underneath. Many split open as they hit hard surfaces. Squirrels rush about digging holes in gardens and lawns, frantically hiding larders in hopes of discovering them when the ground freezes.
- Hickory is barely edible, if there is absolutely nothing else available. But I find them a constant nuisance, and simply scoop them up in heavy pails to put out with the rest of the yard waste. I suppose they compost with the leaves and branches at our town site, but sometimes it seems more like throwing out heavy wooden furniture and hoping it will decompose in any reasonable time.
- Ring around the rosie ….
- Cheerful black death ditty proving humans can grimly laugh at anything.
- Colors are now sneaking onto the scene like unexpected guests. Suddenly a patch of brilliant crimson, or a long splash of astounding gold will announce summer has in fact ended. Meanwhile the greens get just a bit more drab, the weeds a lot more brittle and brown, and the butterflies and bees much less numerous.
- Warm temperatures have made this October a great time to be outdoors, although some are grumbling that it remains far too humid and hot for their taste. I love the fact that I have been able to sit on the water or on a park bench still without heavy jacket, soaking in sun for the last time before dark months and chill settle in for their long siege.
- Dogwoods have faithfully recorded the passing of days. Berries have turned bright red and fallen to the ground. Leaves have gradually shown dark scarlet veins, then lost almost all their green hue, and are now crisping and falling quickly as rains settle in. Soon their branches will again be bare against the purpling sky.
- Dogwoods represent perhaps the most noble and consistent local ornamentals. Their blossoms signal that true spring has arrived, their airy canopies provide light shade all summer, and their strange branching patterns are always fascinating when covered with new snowfall. But in autumn, although hardly as spectacular as some maples, they change almost like clockwork, and always remind me of what is really going on in spite of the day to day weather.
With a tug and mutual roars only partially shielded by big ear protectors, they begin yet another Sisyphean task.
And tell which way the wind may blow.