The early signs of autumn are becoming more obvious with each passing day. There is just a slight hint of color in the maple trees that cover these woodland hills. They've been sending sap to their branches since last february, and the leaves are beginning to expire.
The fall flowers are blooming a little early again the year. There are yellow sunflowers and coneflowers along the roadside ditches, yellow being the dominant color for wildflowers in the fall. The lovely blue New England asters often grow among the yellow flowers. The asters usually bloom around the third week of September, but the past four years, they have started blooming by the beginning of the month.
The majority of the yellow flowers seen now are on the tall groups of Canada goldenrod. There's no doubt as to how pretty goldenrod is when it's in bloom, but sadly it's a very invasive, non-native species that can cover acres of much needed grassland.
The pretty pale blue woodland asters are just starting to open. They are one of the last flowers to bloom before the serious cold puts an end to flower frolics. This year they are starting to bloom almost a month early.
The Night hawks have been migrating through in pretty good numbers. Early last evening, I watched about 50 of them hawking for insects along the Kickapoo River. Their long, pointed wings let them soar through the sky like a swallow. They've been coming through here about a week early for the past three years.
I noticed something outside that I'd never seen before on the second day of September–little bunnies. They're no bigger than a teacup, and it seems kind of late in the year to be seeing such tiny rabbits.
Another sure sign of fall came through the window today in the form of direct sunlight. Each year around the first of September, the sun drops low enough in the sky to come through the window and pass across my drawing table. This means having to move the table around on the floor to evade the too-bright rays. The direct sun creates too many shadows on the drawing paper and I prefer a little softer light. Nonetheless, I'll be sliding the drawing table across the floor for the next eight months. I've learned to live with it.
This week, the thing that inspired me the most was not outside. The beautiful garden flowers in the vase on my kitchen table, grew outside my door but now brighten the room with their summer colors. They sure are pretty. I wondered how long they would last outside before a frost claims the remainder of the garden blooms. I picked a pretty bouquet for the table and figured if I captured them on paper, I could make the memory of their beauty last.
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