Tonight, for the first time in a month, the night air felt cooler. The temperature will dip into the fifties, which means another light blanket and a pleasant night's sleep. The daytime temperatures will stay in the mid to upper 70s for the next week or so. That's all it takes for me to smell the first scent of fall in the air. I was just starting to get used to the hot, humid weather, but now a sweatshirt feels good again. There's no doubt that there will be more hot days yet to come, so enjoy them while they last.
While taking an early morning walk along the Kickapoo River, I watched a little Green Heron wading though some Arrowhead plants along the riverbank. The dark green leaves of the Arrowhead caught my eyes. It was in bloom and I used my binoculars for a closer look at the beautiful white flowers. That's when I spotted the Green Heron, stalking slowly though the Arrowhead. I also saw a nice-sized water snake swimming across the river. I've always liked to watch how a snake slithers across the top of the water.
Further down the river bottom, a mob of crows was giving an owl a rough time. The noisy ruckus the crows were making seemed like a harsh way to start the day, but it's a common occurrence around here in the morning.
A month ago there were still quite a few robins in the yard, but now I may not see one all day. Most of the adults have raised their young, and have no reason to stay in their summer territory, so they have dispersed across the countryside. The Rose-breasted grosbeaks have also left, for the most part, and I'll miss their beautiful songs.
The rain came again Saturday, lasting into the night. Lots of steady rain, which ran off every hillside and down every valley, in a mad rush for the river. Every couple of years the conditions are just right for Gully washers. The heavy rains accumulate so fast that it washes out every dry gully in every valley. The rushing water from the gullies turns the creeks into whitewater torrents, as the water rushes on downhill. Thousands of gullies and creeks empty into the Kickapoo River, which quickly spills its banks. In a couple of hours, the entire river valley is under water. By Sunday afternoon, the streets of my nearby town, Viola, are underwater and road travel in the valley is nearly at a standstill. For local folks, it's just a part of life here in the Coulee region, but still I'm always amazed how fast the water can rise in the river valley. Where just this morning I had taken a pleasant riverside walk, it's now under water.
POEM: Summers' Past
Take me back to the boy I was, a time of joyful learning.
Take me back to early days through years of wishful yearning...
To have dirty bare feet and hands that smell like fish,
would surely be a silly wish. But the memories are sweet and free,
and that's the boy I long to be.
Each day, a swim in the lake,
catch a slow turtle or chase a quick snake.
Avoid my pants cuff getting caught in the chain,
roll it up so mom won't complain.
Dig some worms in the cool, moist earth—
in an old soup can that will prove their worth.
To the trout stream without any haste,
thinking of a grateful smile on my mother's face.
Take me back to the days of old,
when I always did what I was told,
but had no fear of being bold.
With a sunburned back and cheeks of red,
I'd play outside 'till it's time for bed.
Let me wake to the summer sun
and new dreams each day that are laced with fun,
and moonlit skies and fireflies and puppies on the run.
A time I thought the rain felt fine,
and learned patience from tangled fishing line.
The soft street lights brought moths at night,
and the bats danced their magical flight.
Take me back, with lots of stops,
so I may remember what I had forgot.
Those days of curious adventure for me to enjoy,
and no one would tell me it's only for boys.
All art ©2013 Organic Valley