Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Signs Are Everywhere

It was a balmy 81 degrees yesterday here in Old Lyme.  In fact, it was so warm out that it almost felt like a long, lazy summer day.  But it's  not summer anymore.   The air smells different.  The sunlight slants much lower through the trees.  No, I'm afraid there's just no denying it.  Autumn has truly arrived in our little corner of Southern New England.

The signs are everywhere.  And I don't just mean the maple trees that are starting to turn a million different spectacular shades or red and orange.  Oh, sure, the trees are a dead giveaway.  But there's much, much more going on here as the seasons change.  You just have to look.  And listen.

There's our neighbor's rooster, Ugly Bob, who has taken to crowing from dawn straight through until dusk with newfound stentorian vigor.  I've stopped calling him Ugly Bob and started calling him Mr. Bob Goulet.

There are those squadrons of geese that have started flying low over the house in the first light of dawn, honking their heads off.  When Freddie was still a kitten the sound of those honking geese would send him darting from the foot of the bed to my night stand so he could watch them through the window, his ears up, tail swishing eagerly.  Now that Freddie is a mature gentleman he just opens one eye and says, "Oh, the fucking geese are back." And goes back to sleep.

There are the swarms of migratory birds like those grackles that paused yesterday afternoon to rest in one of our trees for a few minutes.  There were hundreds and hundreds of them perched there -- just like in Hitchcock's movie "The Birds" -- before a silent signal passed between them and they took off again in a huge, flapping cloud.

The monarch butterflies are passing through, too, on their way down to sunny Mexico.  They were nearly wiped out a few years back by a freakish winter freeze down there.  But they're staging a comeback.  A whopping six -- count 'em six -- spent some quality time basking in our butterfly bush yesterday before they resumed their long journey south.

Ed, the pickerel frog who took up residence in our herb garden a couple of weeks ago, has started to burrow around in the soft soil.  He's searching for a possible winter residence, we think.  Diana has provided him with a berm of composted leaves in the hope that he will stay with us.  We've gotten kind of attached to the little guy.

We had our first chilly morning on Wednesday.  It was 43 degrees.   My morning coffee tasted better than it had for quite some time, I must admit.  And, for the first time since Memorial Day, I had to put on something other than a T-shirt, shorts and flip flops.  Out came a pair of treasured old blue jeans and a flannel shirt.  An actual pair of socks, running shoes.  It felt weird to be wearing so much clothing again.  It triggered a powerful Back to School sense memory.  A feeling of pure dread, no question.  Followed by a wonderful sense of relief that I no longer have to go to school every morning.   I felt this same relief the first morning after Labor Day when I heard the school bus going by our house.  I was just so incredibly glad that I wasn't one of the kids on that bus.  Better them than me.  I suppose a day will come when I'm finally mature enough to not feel this way.  But I'm not counting on it.    

This is reputed to be a bumper year for acorns.  You don't have to tell the squirrels this.  They know it.   They are positively manic.  Scampering up and down the oak trees with feverish intensity, their cheeks bulging.  There are so many acorns up there that the squirrels have even taken to knocking them from the trees down to their brethren waiting there for them on the ground.  I can hear the acorns falling on our roof and driveway all day long.  It's a strange, crackling sound.  It took me a while to figure out what it was.

Very industrious, those squirrels.  Smart, too.  They know that winter will be upon us sooner than we can possibly imagine.

1 comment:

  1. that ffreddie. got to love him. give him a scritch please.

    and thanks. chilly her this morning, but not quite 43. but i, too, had a most welcome cup of hot coffee and put on a flannel shirt.

    and thank god, no more school...