Queens, Monarchs, & Hummers: August’s Farewell

:: Mid-August beauty along Carr’s Creek, Delaware County, New York ::

August 31st, Lightspring Glen ::: Despite intentions otherwise to capture and share some August moments in writing before today, tomorrow we will welcome in September. The original draft of this piece began with a note that despite weeks of little rain, “the countryside still holds its lush greens”. We felt fortunate around here that this part of the country was largely spared the high heat of so much of the rest of the U.S. It’s not an easy thing to stand distant-witness to the wild fires and drought so many Western states are suffering this summer. Still it became just a bit nerve-wracking to watch our creeks dwindle and hear about wells starting to run dry. Further East, big cities like Boston were even more on edge as reservoirs sank to disturbingly low levels. But before this becomes overly focused on environmental concerns, let me return to that mid-August draft…..

“Queen Anne’s Lace waves abundantly in fields and waysides, increasingly accented by Goldenrod’s bright plumes. Nature offers her treasures at every turn, every day of every season. When I stopped at one of my favorite Beauty Spots not far from here to take this photo, I straightened up from my crouched position to see a Monarch butterfly gently probing a flower frond on its tall stalk. (A close look at the above photo will show it in the lower right) They’re an increasingly common sight this time of the Summer and I’m glad for every one. Warnings of threats to their very existence as a species are more than disturbing. It’s not much comfort to hear that the Eastern population is doing reasonably well when the news is dire for the West Coast population. It’s been my practice for the last several years to wish each one that crosses my path “Good Journey”.

Spring’s bustling nesting season with its bird-music filling the air from dawn to nightfall is an increasingly distant memory. I’m always wistful when the last fades away. What had been a late start to this year’s nesting (a cool, rainy May) made for a later quieting. What a sweet thrill on the last day of July to have one of the resident Wood Thrushes offer up its haunting coda at dusk. It’s now been several weeks since the Summer insect choir took over the music-honors.”

Enough of the previous draft, it feels. [note to Self….don’t forget the Hummers…]

The insect chorus has sounded particularly tuneful and exuberant to my ears this year. I have a small new deck just off the patio doors installed in the Spring and it offers a marvelous after-dark balcony for the nightly Summer symphony. The Milky Way rises over the dark woods across the pond and stretches its gauzy path above me. Over the roof line the Big Dipper pours out stars down upon the north hill.

The shift towards Autumn is unmistakable at this writing. The swallows have left us for their South American winter grounds. The granddaughter who joined the household in early Spring is happily beginning her college semester at the State University not far from here. (It was wonderful to share the Summer with her…..I think the cats were even happier about it than I was!) The tomatoes that have managed to survive the garden-incursions of the #@*%! woodchuck are promising luscious red-ripeness. Yesterday, rains finally came with hours of welcome, thundery rainfall. We could use more, but what we received is a blessing. The pond has risen by a good four or five inches and at long last the nearly-silent waterfall has regained its voice. No doubt the lawn which hasn’t needed attention for weeks will need a mowing in a few days’ time. I’m glad for the task. And the Hummers…..their flashy, twittering presence is still a daily delight as the eight or nine of this year’s families dart about the yard. They squabble among themselves more than you might imagine, especially around the hummingbird feeder that I’ll leave up for a couple more weeks. Not a worry about detaining any of them too long……they know when it’s time to go South. The yard and pond will continue to be graced for some weeks more by the darting flights and forays of the luminous-winged dragonflies. All in wondrous keeping of the Turning of the Great Wheel.

May you have an abundant and peaceful Autumn wherever it is you call Home. ~Carol

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