Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Note to summer: Go away!

Sunrise September 6, 2015, Gifford Pinchot State Park 
Someone, please tell summer, “it’s over!”

If the heat doesn’t break soon, this September is already heading towards being the hottest ever in my area.  Currently, the monthly average temperature is 13 degrees above average.  So even when the heat breaks and presumably normal temperatures arrive, that won’t come close to getting the average temperature back to something approaching average.  It would take a good 10 days of some seriously cool weather for that to happen, and such weather is not anywhere on the forecast horizon.  And so we swelter.

Naturally, this much heat with limited rainfall has dried out the forest around my cabin.  I was even skittish about setting up my little picnic grill in the middle of the driveway on Sunday, but I did it anyway, keeping a bucket of water on hand just in case.  Fortunately, nothing untoward happened and the wind was calm.  Even so, I am done with grilling until rain comes along and dampens the dust.

As you might expect, signs of the approaching autumn are in short supply with summer refusing to go away.  Bird migration is still early and progressing but slowly.  The barn swallows leave the end of August no matter what the weather, and now I believe the yellow-billed cuckoo has departed, too.  I would hear those birds perhaps 2-3 times a week over the course of the summer, and it has now been 10 days since I heard them call.  They are the only new species that appears to have left the mountain.  I haven’t heard the wood thrush recently either, but their song is much less evident in the second half of the summer. They might still be around.

The mountain is dry and dusty and smells of dust.  It’s a far cry from the lush smells of spring or even a midsummer morning after a rain.  I await rain to reawaken the good mountain smells, but that won’t come for days and even then the chance is not a good one.

Misty sunrise at Pinchot Lake


Scott said...

It had darn well better rain tomorrow (Thursday)! It is as dry here further east as it is around Roundtop. Earthworms are crawling across the top of the ground in search of moist soil. They're not native, but it's discouraging to think of them suffering along with the vegetation.

Last evening, I went for a walk just before dark in the native grasslands on my preserve. At one point, I came across a group of adolescents gathered around a bench along the trail and smoking cigarettes. I know that kids don't have many places to get away from adults and act like kids so I don't bother such groups if the participants are reasonably well-behaved like these kids were. But, their smoking in these dry fields gave me pause; I didn't end up saying anything, but I thought about it. I probably should have just asked them to be careful.

By the way, Kali and I hiked at Hibernia County Park in Chester County on Sunday and there were still lots of Barn Swallows swooping over the fields. They've gone from my preserve, though, like you report at Roundtop.

Carolyn H said...

Scott: Rain has finally arrived here, after disappointing me on Wednesday evening. It sure looked then as though i would get some, but it dissipated, drifted to the north, etc. I started my little charcoal grill this past weekend in the middle of my driveway and even then wondered if I should be doing it. Every teeny, tiny spark I saw made me think I was crazy. Fortunately, all was well with that, but I can understand how seeing those kids smoking made you feel.