A neighbor visited me on the porch the other day. It was our local red-tailed hawk. She (I think it is a she) just flew in and settled on the nearby gutter. The friendly downy woodpecker, host of sparrows, and charm of finches were nowhere to be seen while Red perched and surveyed the scene.
Well, my friends, the pansies are on their last leg and little hints of yellow have begun to appear on leafy plants the way gray begins to peek out from underneath our dark hair at a certain age. It is only just a couple of days from Labor Day so I don’t want to push the alarm button yet, but even so, we all know what is coming our way.
As you may have done too, I checked in with a couple of friends who live in Florida after that massive hurricane racked the “Big Bend” as we’ve learned it is called. I associate Big Bend with a national park down on the Rio Grande, but okay, Florida can have one too. I watched in awe the time lapse images of the hurricane as it condensed into a mushroom cloud mass of white and swallowed the land below.
All those hurricane images reminded me of the massive rain event in California in which they were deluged with a year of rain in a day. This combined with an earthquake and the wild fires before those biblical storms, seems unimaginable.
Then some friends of mine announced they were moving to Tuscon, Arizona for a job where this past July it set a record of thirteen 115-plus days. On the plus side, I’m sure one hundred degrees of dry heat would feel good to those of us in the Finger Lakes in late February.
As I write this it is nearly noon and seventy-one degrees under a cloudless sky. Bees lick up whatever they can from multiple flowers and flowering bushes in our garden. They know what’s coming too. The giant grasses we have are vibrant green and exploding with summer happiness, but at their roots a little brown is beginning to show.
It is early September in the Finger Lakes and summer temperatures are making a comeback this week. The Black-eyed Susan’s continue to pop and brag and there is just that hum of nature knitting it’s splendor into an amazing landscape we are fortunate to appear in. All of which leads me to that familiar refrain I first heard when moving to Buffalo, but is also true of the Finger Lakes. If we get to choose between hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, extreme heat and drought or a snowstorm, give me the snowstorm!
Friends in Florida, California, the northwest and southwest sometimes wonder how we can tolerate the cold and snow. I find it impossible to explain to them. Some of them vaguely but warmly remember the change in seasons the way it takes place within deciduous forests and wetlands. But their memory of the cold is of shivering or struggling through the psychology of late February through March. Perhaps they never learned to embrace the cold and snow as a gift of seasons in the same way that the more graceful season of autumn is held. I’ll get through March with the memory of this September and thrill to Rabia’s manic energy as she prances in the snow.