Monday, August 27, 2012


Sassafras leaf

The fall season is trying to nose its way onto the scene on Roundtop Mtn., a bit like a stray dog that’s vying for attention and hoping for a handout but is still afraid to be too bold. Here and there this wet weekend, I found red leaves. This one is from a sassafras tree. But I also saw dogwood, Virginia creeper and, of course, poison ivy with red leaves.

For all its beauty, fall is the time when we get used to small, seasonal losses—the loss of daylight, the loss of fresh produce from the garden, the loss of warm weather and long evening walks. We are compensated for that with the glory of fall colors, which makes us forget about those losses for a while. By the time winter arrives on the scene, those little losses don’t seem like much in the face of winter. They help us to prepare, I think, for winter or at least they should.

The one thing I seem to have forgotten about fall in Pennsylvania is that it also tends to be a rainy time. I find myself thinking there’s plenty of time ahead to get organized for the winter months. Then I lose a weekend to rain and suddenly the time to prepare is shorter. Fall is also a time when I can’t count on good weather to accomplish my list of pre-fall, pre-winter outdoor chores.

Chimney swifts are starting to migrate now—they didn’t seem to mind Sunday’s rain. I saw 6-7 of them wheeling across the sky and cutting back and forth, chittering all the way. There could have been 5 or even 8—they are hard to count when they won’t stay in one place for more than an instant.


John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Not much sign of autumn colours on this side of the ocean but our swifts have departed and are probably back in Africa by now.

Scott said...

Carolyn: Actually, September and October are typically the driest months of the year. It feels like August is trying to make up for the June drought, though, right now.