Each year around this time I post to this Journal and proclaim the beginning of fall. The calendar says it’s still summer but I’m always about a month ahead of the calendar and, frankly, so is the actual seasonal change.
It was sometime during last week when I first felt the change. Maybe it was all of the caterpillar activity or the large number of grasshoppers that I’ve been seeing in their final instar, their last nymphal stage of development before they become full adult grasshoppers. Perhaps it was the orb weavers having become more obvious in the last few weeks. They’ve reached maturity and their webs grow in size as they do.
It could have been the willow leaves littering the path or swirling about in the water of the Wetlands, or the Summer Tanager that I saw foraging in the woods on the north side of the Wetlands (a migrant) that convinced me of the changing season. It may even have been the blush beginning to show on the dogwood berries or the deep purple of the poke berries that triggered the sense of change. It’s probably all of those things and more. But mostly, though, it’s a feeling, a chemical reaction to something in the atmosphere, a “something in the air,” kind of feeling.
Whatever it is, it’s here and even though we’ll still see some hot days ahead the trend will be towards the coolness, and dryness, of fall. Look around you, many of the leaves are already turning. And, as you can see, the fall berries and nuts are ripening, there’s no turning back. Summer is done, beaten.