Ripples 9/14/23

There’s a special feeling when the coolness of early September arrives. It’s not quite fall yet, but the air tells you differently. And so does the night sky.

The early sunset and cool evenings slow things down. It’s the perfect time for sporting your mackinaw and walking on downed acorns and the first falling leaves. It’s also ripe for shutting down the AC and sleeping with the windows open. The night’s cricket chirps slow their cadence, the cooler it gets the slower their song, and once it gets below 55 degrees generally, they stop singing all together. (And I will miss that.)

I always get a romantic buzz this time of year. Leaves are just starting to change and like other folks, I anticipate the horizon’s brilliant color palette in the approaching weeks. And the fungus! I enjoy the variety of colors on a fall fungus walk. Do yourself a favor and go out just to see what’s on a trail. Don’t pick anything, but see what’s there. You’ll be amazed at the sizes, shapes, colors, and textures you’ll find.

Back to that buzz, hives are now full and honey harvests are beginning. Roadside signs are popping up – proclaiming the victory of a successful honey season and that it’s now for sale. Three cheers to our pollinators for working so hard to bring us this pure and healthy sweetener. Not only is honey sweet to taste, it’s also used as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial agent.

Ok, so now it’s time to cue the fireplaces and cozy sweaters. There’s nothing like a good bonfire in the fall to get you ready for the cool down and joys of the new season. The smoke carries a scent of the elders, something wise, and it’s almost as if you can hear whispered stories carried into the air.

Fallen acorns underfoot don’t bother me at all. They actually remind me of my childhood and the imagination games we played as kids. My sisters and I would draw faces on the ones that still had caps on them. We would make whole families and create stories about their life. We would put the really little ones in a tiny box with soft cotton so the babies would have a cradle for sleeping. Sometimes we just played with them like they were marbles.

In all of this, I think my favorite fall moments are the ones where the things of man get quiet and the Great Horned owls start their courtship while katydids serenade in the background. That always gets me.

I hope you get out for a walk soon. This season has intriguing stories to share, and I know you’ll enjoy what you hear.

Photo: Nancy Nabak, pholiota sp.

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