Autumn – where are you?
Some folks associate autumn with death. Not me. Sure, plants and trees lose their leaves, and summer flowers no longer grace the landscape, but they don’t die. Instead, they’re taking a little time to rest and recuperate from a busy season of growing.
Autumn is a beautiful time of year. Mother Nature exchanges summer’s oppressive heat with cool, crisp, delightful, pleasant mornings. The crunching, crackling sounds of creatures scurrying through the leaves and the awe-inspiring magnificent colors dotting the rambling landscape revitalize me.
Plus, there is so much activity! Birds, animals, reptiles, bugs, and all the other life we share this planet with have a lot to do during autumn. I love to watch insects madly buzzing and flittering around the asters and goldenrods. Their time to prepare for the cold weather slips away along with the dwindling hours of daylight. Bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, wasps, and all the other bugs scurry from blossom to blossom, feasting on the last dregs of nectar while collecting the vital grains of pollen and seeds needed to sustain their new generations until next spring. The same goes for frogs, reptiles, squirrels, possums, and other wildlife. Unless planning to stay awake all winter, creatures are preparing for their well-deserved restorative nap.
The first frost denotes that prep time has come to a close. Ready or not, it’s time to get into their hollow logs, plant stems, burrows, nests, or under the leaves. Winter is on its way
For me, the first frost says to unpack the sweaters and turtlenecks. It’s time to layer up and stay toasty warm while enjoying the beauty of the season.
After all the fields are harvested and the surrounding underbrush cleared away, so many familiar avenues beckon my return. I can revisit areas I haven’t seen since early summer. I’ll photograph the unique loveliness of the deserted tobacco, corn, and cotton stubble left stranded in the fields. The winter wheat will wave a friendly greeting as I brush my hand over the stalks.
I’m looking forward to seeing the vibrant colors painting the countryside. The persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) and black cherry (Prunus serotina) trees, along with the winged sumac (Rhus copallina) and American beautyberry (Callicarpa Americana) bushes, will bear ripening fruit for the birds and wildlife to munch on during late summer, fall and over the winter. I can’t wait!
Unfortunately, warm weather sticks around where I live through September and into October. So I have a few more weeks until I can trade my t-shirt for a sweatshirt. Until then, I’ll continue observing the bugs prepping for winter, dreaming of the cooler days to come.