These cool August nights make for easy sleeping and an extra blanket feels so comfy. A heavy dew on the grass at sunup makes my shoes wet after only a few steps across the yard. So much moisture, yet I still have to carry pails of water to the thirsty veggies in the garden. Watering the garden is a chore I like to do first thing each day. Being outside at sunup has always been an important part of my day, especially when I was on the farm.
This morning there was a low-hanging fog in the valley, and visibility was limited to only about 100 feet, so I let my ears tell me what was going on around me. Although I couldn't see him, a chickadee greeted me from the foggy shadows at the edge of the yard. It was the first chickadee song I've heard in a couple of months. They always seem to disappear for most of the summer when their nesting season begins. It's kind of strange, since this little bird is "in your face" most of the rest of the year.
The fog kept me from seeing the nuthatch in the locust tree at the end of the garden but I could plainly hear his nervous beep-beep from the branches of the tree.
From the grove of pine trees at the far end of the valley came the excited calls of some crows. Their noisy clamor told me they had already found an owl who thought he had a safe place to spend the day. Nothing seems to escape the keen eyes of the crows, even in the fog. They no doubt went looking for the owl, whose daytime roost may be predictable.
The early morning songs of the robins are no longer heard, because most of them have already finished nesting here and have moved on. It's one of those early signs that tell you fall is just around the corner. Robins are another bird that is all over the place for part of the year, then all of the sudden, they are gone.
The summer bird songs are starting to disappear as the seasons begin to change. There just isn't as much to sing about, now that they have finished the work of nesting and raising their young. I'm grateful to hear a Towhee's song from the edge of the woods, as he reminds me to "Drink-your-tea!"
The sun finally broke through the fog about the time I finished my outdoor chores and headed to the house for a cup of hot tea. In no time, it's too warm for the sweatshirt I have on. I have it half over my head and shoulders when the humming wing sound of a hummingbird passes by me in my moment of darkness. I quickly get the shirt off to catch a glimpse of him, only to find he's already out of sight. Within half an hour, though, there are a dozen of them, playing in the sun around the flowers.
August can be a funny mixture of hot days and cools nights, but it's only one of the ways nature changes slowly from one season to the next. These signs are many, and subtle at first, but always certain indicators of change.
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