Thursday, September 20, 2012


The school bus makes its stop on our block with each morning a bit darker as days shorten.

School schedules quickly become the norm.

So it is with sweaters once cooler air arrives. Reaching for a sweater as we head out the door already seems something we’ve been doing forever.

We wouldn’t have believed, back in sizzling July, that an extra layer would ever feel good on us again. 

Sweaters which I marked for consignment for almost certain lack of use are receiving full appreciation as sized up for service for the crisp weeks ahead.

It’s been lovely far into the month. Tuesday we woke to 46 degrees. The weather guy said it was the coolest overnight low since April 28. There was nice rebound into the 70s yesterday. Sunshine and 65 degrees made it pleasant today.

As a recent trend summer is more firmly entrenched than autumns recalled. Turning on the furnace (this year it had an exceptionally long rest) is not the immediate measure it was in Septembers of the not so distant past.

I remember this because my folks used to go West after Labor Day. They were gone a couple weeks to a month. They came back glowing with sun and buoyed by perfect vacation weather and visits to family members.

In the meanwhile my sister and I watched our small kids – and the baleful weather outside the windows. We gave our parents the weather report when they returned.

“You didn’t miss anything,” we assured them. It was cool – or wet – or both in their absence year after year.

Squirrels have been active this long while with their acorns. A plentiful supply litters the ground. Lots of acorns used to foretell a hard winter.

Driving to the store this forenoon I saw an albino squirrel. A gray squirrel was chasing it. Their bushy tails were exclamation marks completing the suggestion of bullying tactics unfortunately put to the test on some playgrounds.

A small brown bunny made the second interesting sighting of the day. I caught it out of the corner of my eye as I walked to the library.

Movement in the rose shrubs alerted me. Almost definitely the bunny had been jumping.

It was trying to reach the thick clusters of rosehips which were too high off the ground for easy pickings. 

The bunny needed a long stretch to get at the rosehips if not making an actual leap. The stir of activity was its calculated attempt to attain the bright fruit.

The bunny crouched low feigning innocence, or perhaps hoping for invisibility, as I came up to it. It scuttled into the roses bushes as I went by.

Out of curiosity I circled back. Sure enough the bunny was in its former spot on the brown patch beneath the roses. It was in its familiar crouch. The round red fruit pod was in front of it like a prize.

It's been a pleasant month of various outings. These have included apple orchards, attending to the bridge construction at Hastings, Parade of Homes (an annual event), and festival weekends in the little towns around our lake.

Somehow we’ve also fit in projects, volunteer work, laundry and the daily regimen of owning a house.

The outings will subside as we settle into fall. We’re ready for this to happen. It comes with the territory. It comes with fall.

Fall is detected by the darker mornings. It’s felt by the cooler winds.It's smelled in the changing vegetation – the leaves and grasses that rustle and sigh. 

The seasonal change is made abundantly clear all around by such signs as blue jays that show up, you wonder where from, absent during the warm days and brazenly appearing on the first cool morning.

Fall color won't dazzle this year. Foliage has a faded look. It's the dry conditions, we hear, that will mute the autumn scene.

There are a few brilliant maples and the sumacs which add their scarlet tones to the yellowing countryside. It’s a time of rest, peace and home comforts drawing us in.

Ro Giencke – September 20, 2012

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