The red leaf in the gravel driveway caught my eye the other day. So did the first dying fern. And the yellow poplar leaves on the grass just outside the deck. And the cool, misty dawn that broke Sunday morning. It was enough to make us think of digging out sweatshirts that were put away back in the late Spring.
It's been a hot summer, but thankfully we've gotten fairly frequent rains that have kept the hay growing and the garden flourishing. But in the midst of all that lush green, the turning of the locust trees circling our fields into brown foliage is a reminder that while the season hasn't exactly begun to turn, it has begun to suit up for the big change. New colors are being called up from the minors, and the roster of autumnal hues has begun to expand for the playoffs.
These old knees and legs are most appreciative of a good, hot summer. The joints ache less and move more freely, and the same heat that was once oppressive down in the lowlands feels pretty dadgum good up here when it's time to move around. But there's something in the human psyche that loves a change of scenery, and here in the hills I think you can see it coming every day of the year, if you look hard enough.
There is always something to see. Just down the hill from us we saw three foxes by the roadside a few weeks ago. Coming up the hill from our leaky pond yesterday I saw a magnificent great blue heron take wing and vector in on the road way up yonder. I was cutting brush 10 days ago and saw a six-foot blacksnake, a beautiful serpent with what looked like a yellow racing stripe, start climbing a big locust tree toward, I guess, that nest of birds squawking a few trees west.
The impatiens and the veronica candles are still in full flower; the butterfly bushes have put out cone after cone of their purple candy; the cosmos are still blooming around the patio and in some places they are four feet tall. We're down to about one blooming yellow day lilly -- never seem to get enough of those things -- but the scarlet salvia are once again climbing their stubby stalks.
High summer it is, but autumn is putting on its spikes and getting ready to move up to the Big Show.