Recently, I have read several blog postings that all mention getting in those last long hikes or journeys of summer. It seems that each of us is trying to hold on to the last few days of living at a slower pace before the frantic pace of school and work begins again. These musings have caused me to observe my own wooded lot and try to discern the subtle changes August brings.
As I gaze into the woods, I notice the occasional yellow leaves of late summer interspersed with the green foliage. It happens every August, yet most people are unaware of this subtle change in color, a foreshadowing of the brilliant autumn shades yet to come. If they do notice, it comes as an unpleasant surprise, as if fall has already come and these yellow leaves are predicting an early winter.
Flowering plants have begun to shed their petals, exposing the berries and seed pods necessary for next year’s crop. Over this past summer, I have kept watch on the scores of American Wintergreen in the woods trying to understand the cycle of one small flower. The small flowers, visible in June, have been replaced by small white berries. My Hostas are heavy with seed pods and my Cone-flowers are losing their petals, leaving the prickly cone behind.
Migration season has begun as well. The other day, I watched butterflies flit around the Coneflowers and Pokeweed. I counted a yellow butterfly with small black dots and a black butterfly with hints of orange on its wings, both too busy to have patience with my feeble attempts at photography. A colorful moth I have never seen before was kind enough to rest while I took his picture.
Even the days are becoming shorter, bringing relief in the cooler nights of late summer. Funny how nature is very busy in a season where humans tend to slow down and becomes dormant just as we begin to quicken the pace of our lives.