DSCN1867

DSCN1856

DSCN1825

DSCN1837

DSCN1865

There is a beautiful
autumn…
mild temperatures,
sunny, cool, slightly breezy days,
chilly, clear nights,
bright air,
a cloudy hour here and there,
a little rain…
The first freeze
was three days ago.
Frosty white grass
and 32 degrees at 7 a.m.
But it’s been warmer,
sunny mostly
since.
And with a little more rain,
grass is still greening,
while dried tall grasses
drop their seeds,
silently planting
for another year.
Crickets still sing
in low places.
There are still Cicadeas!
in the Willows.
A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
perches atop a dried sunflower
in the pasture.
Cottonwood leaves
wiggle and whoosh
in the wind.
Some kind of cocklebur
turns from silver
to purple.
Soft mounds
of wild white asters
flow beneath the fence line.
There is a new,
prodigious,
crop of tiny grasshoppers
and I also disturb
pairs of small yellow butterflies
that flutter up out of the grass
as I walk through the prairie,
touching home.

DSCN1864

On August 9,
I wrote in my nature journal:
“If I didn’t know better, I’d say this—9 August—is the first day of fall. Cool breeze, all day, from north, even in sunshine.”
The next morning,
August 10,
it was 63 degrees.
Friends and neighbors
are noticing too,
many signs of autumn
these uncommon—
normally scorching—
August days.
Now we’re confident,
saying it right out loud
to each other.
Summer’s flora,
has yet to fade,
most summer residents are still here,
but there is distinctive change,
movement;
fall is in the air.

Swallows have left a friend’s place.
Orb Spinners are out
a good month early.
Butterflies are migrating through.
Nights are cool.
Perhaps most telling,
is autumn light;
at 2 in the afternoon,
shadows fall
as if it’s 4.
And would you look at that
harvest moon!

DSCN0616

DSCN0823

Question Mark Butterfly

DSCN0817Camberwell Beauty
(Last year, they arrived in September)

DSCN0820Orb Spinner
(Normally they’re doing this in October)

DSCN0831Almost full moon

DSCN0836Next night (last night,) full

DSCN0451

DSCN0450Last Evening’s Sky

While people, plants and animals
on the East Coast
suffer through high temperatures
and humidity,
we here in Oklahoma
are stunned
to not be experiencing
the triple digits
and drought
that have caused suffering
for life here
the last three years.
We have had only two days
of triple digits;
instead…temperatures in the 90’s
and 80’s! and
rain
and clouds
and cool breezes
and rain
and cooler evenings,
in the 70’s
and 60’s!
We secretly savor every moment,
knowing it will not always
be this way,
but also grateful
because we’re already
in mid-summer.
Even if the heat rises
and the rains stop—
and the current forecast
is for more of this same next week—
it’s unlikely
we’ll experience 50 consecutive days
of triple digits.
A superstitious lot,
despite our scientific minds,
we barely dare to speak about it—
as if we can jinx the weather patterns.
But, quietly,
we are beginning to mention
to each other:
“Isn’t this weather amazing?”
I think I’m almost afraid
to let go
of my weather dread,
as if I don’t want to be caught
off-guard.
Learning to live with unpredictable,
extreme weather
and the disasters that come with it,
is part of life now.
It’s important to make it a central focus
of our lives
because all on the planet are suffering.
We must do everything we can
to conserve energy
and make even sacrificial changes
to cut our carbon emissions
so that all can thrive.
Too,
we can also enjoy
every
exquisite
moment.