By Bruce Stambaugh
It seems like only yesterday that we were asking ourselves, “When will summer arrive?” I think that was in June when it was still cool and very wet.
Well, a lot has changed since then. It seemed like the summertime months turned on themselves. It was a Jekyll and Hyde summer to be sure.
The persistent rains of early summer suddenly ceased. After the deluge that created localized flash flooding in Holmes County on July 14, regular rains were scarce. We lapsed into a dry spell that lasted too long to help the corn kernels swell with sweetness.
Initially, truck patches struggled with mildew, mold and rot in the chilly dampness of early summer. Later, though, as crops matured, their unquenched thirst did them in. They ripened ahead of schedule, withered on the vine or failed to produce the desired yield.
So here we are, the autumnal equinox upon us, and we’re wondering, “Where did summer go already?” As humans, we can be as fickle and contrary as Ohio’s crazy weather. It’s in our nature, and we have the grievance gene working overtime.
Therefore, now that September is waning, it seems only fair to wonder what happened to summer. My best answer is, “I don’t know.” I do know, however, that the signs of summer’s end have shown for some time.
School started weeks ago for many students, always a sure omen of summer’s demise. Summer flies other white flags, too.
Spurred on by the early rains, rows and rows of field corn sprouted lush and fertile, growing taller than tall. Without regular August rains, they have withered and turned brittle brown overnight. It’s been a long time since I remember seeing cornstalks standing like mustered soldiers this early in the harvest time.
(Click on the photos to enlarge them.)
Fireflies faded, and crickets increased amid the dryness. Our feathered friends have dawned their duller wardrobe for safety sake. Their luxurious singing has muted with their habitat’s colors.
Migration is in full swing for birds and butterflies alike. Look quickly. They won’t stay. They have long, challenging journeys ahead.
Another obvious indication of summer’s passing is just how soon sunset seems to arrive each evening. And that’s after the sun was late in rising daily.
With the reduction in daylight hours, the air has cooled considerably overall. Of course we’ll still have some splendid days ahead. But day-by-day, week-by-week, the evening and morning coolness forces us to dress in layers to adjust to the daily variables.
Summer has gradually been waving goodbye in a very colorful fashion for weeks now. Deciduous leaves have been slowly changing from their summer greens into fall’s warmer fashionable trends of crimsons, yellows, and russets. Many leaves have just simply fallen off.
Healthy stands of goldenrod bend and recoil with the slightest breeze. Wild sunflowers separate highways from pastureland. The American Goldfinches couldn’t be happier, gorging on their fresh fruit.
Funny how we humans too often seem to want what we don’t have, and when it does arrive, we long for something else. I think that pretty much sums up summer and answers our rhetorical questions about summer’s arrival and departure.
We can’t control the weather or the seasons. We can only enjoy them whatever weather they bring. The key is to embrace the moment at hand, so we don’t have to look back and wonder where the time went.
Summer is about to depart. Let’s send her out with joy, as we usher in the harvest season with gladness and thanksgiving.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2015
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