DSCN5131The Prairie on a Cool, Misty Autumn-maybe Morning

All year long,
natural events
have happened
about two weeks earlier
than “normal”—well,
what normal used to be.
And so, it seems,
this week
there is autumn.
Weather has shifted.
We’ve fallen away
from summer.
It slipped up on us,
without a transition time.
But, summer was so mild,
maybe we didn’t need a transition period.
Or maybe this is the transition period.
Indeed, hummingbirds will soon go south,
though we have seen one or two the last day or so.
The white cranes
nesting at night in the Cypress trees
on the Big Pond
seem to be leaving in pairs, or small groups.
Yesterday—a gloriously cool, clear, sunny day—
I watched a flock of Red-Winged Blackbirds
fly low, like liquid, just above the prairie grass.
I don’t know if they’re coming in
or have been here all summer.
But we will know soon:
hundreds of thousands arrive for winter.

This morning, not only is the temperature
in the mid-50’s,
mist falls softly,
painting everything with more intense color.
The wind, from the north,
is so chilly
there is no walking or porch-sitting
without long clothes.
The cool, moist air
blows into my face
as if to shout
“fresh, new season!”

Already, domesticity
is in transition too.
Suddenly, clothes hung on the line
will not dry in 15 minutes.
Mice seem to be coming in!
And I earnestly hope that big snake on the porch
last week
wasn’t seeking hibernation
We will need to keep a close eye
on Red-tail Hawks
keeping a close eye on free-ranging chickens—
though it seems they could make a plentiful feast
on the abundance of field mice!
In the high tunnel,
Ann has pulled up cucumber, squash, chard
and other spent plants
and planted seeds for the fall garden.
Still, tomatoes, peppers, melons, eggplant, herbs
produce—welcome remnants
of a summer
that was so much more pleasant
than normal
we only had a few days—
hot and not-normal-for-Oklahoma-extremely-humid-days—
that we wished it away.