Winding Down by Janice Carter

 Today is officially the autumn equinox, the first day of fall. But fall has been creeping up on us for a few weeks now, though we've been in denial about it. I've written plenty about our summer here on Garden Island, at the top of the St. Lawrence in Ontario, Canada. It was glorious - day after day of perfect weather (albeit a tad hot now and then) and calm waters. Mother Nature's token of compensation for the awful Covid spring.

    One of the first signs was the meadow-takeover by Golden Rod. It seemed to have happened overnight as if some sprite cast a wand across the large inner part of the island. Then other fall wildflowers like asters and black-eyed Susans (a kind of daisy) showed up, not to be outdone by their more flamboyant relative. 

Golden Rodin the meadow






Fall asters

The community gardens (and gardeners?) in the meadow have passed their peak, surrendering to the season.


     Birds sweep through on their way south. Canada geese and varieties of ducks congregate on the shores here where they instinctively know they're safe from hunters. For autumn is also the start of Hunting Season. A week ago a pair of loons floated around for two days, resting on their trip south from up north. Turkey vultures careen overhead daily, looking for food and the rare sight of a bald eagle generated much excitement!

    Some islanders too, are migrating back to their city homes, their cottages already shuttered up. Now there are only about 12-14 people on the island during the week. If I want to, I can go whole days without seeing another person on this 65 acre of land.



    Usually the docks in the back bay are full of boats.


      The small herd of white-tail deer vacationing here over the summer have become emboldened by the drop in the island's human population. Rather than waiting for dusk to venture out from the woods or meadow, they stride around in mid-day as if they own the place. And they soon will, staying on after we've all gone before they swim over to the much larger island adjacent to ours. Going back home, much like us.

    Other creatures are prepping for the colder days ahead. The chipmunks run off to bury the occasional treats we scatter for them rather than eat them right away. I'm not sure where all the spiders have gone,  but I no longer have to sweep the corners of my bedroom every night. If only I could locate the incessantly chirping cricket hiding somewhere behind the fridge or stove in the kitchen. We don't have a pet to sniff them out and its plaintive pitch for a mate goes on all day and night. I Googled the life span of a house cricket, hoping the kitchen would soon be quiet again. Ninety days is the average life of a cricket! Hmm. Think I'll be gone before he is. On the other hand, I learned that the cricket spirit animal is supposed to bring good luck, protecting the home from misfortune. 

    I've always liked fall and its totally different persona from summer. But this year autumn is a sign that soon we'll be back in the big city where the virus still lurks. Back to distancing probably from our daughters (both teachers who've returned to real school) and our grandchild. I try not to dwell on that too much because I have so much to be grateful for. And writing is a perfect pandemic past-time. :)

   What does your autumn look like in the place where you live?

Thanks for joining today and Happy Autumn!

Janice Carter



Comments

  1. Janice, Congrats on His Saving Grace!

    Summer has been like the year...odd. We've actually had a cooler Summer than usual--no 100° temps this year~ YAYAY. And for the past few weeks, the humidity is low so the temps we have are more comfortable. Fall is actually my favorite time of year until Spring shows up after a horrible winter. :-) Enjoyed your post~

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    1. Pat, we had the opposite. 100 degree temperatures for days on end. The month of July was the hottest ever, recording breaking temperatures every day, not to mention the humidity. Then a few days ago we got some fall weather. Today we're back to 70 degrees and by the end of the week it'll be in the 80's. A weird year. I truly believe the global warming is upon us.

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  2. I enjoy reading about your time on Garden Island, it all sounds so peaceful! Fall here in California can be hot, windy and dry. Nowadays we hear the words 'Fire Season' almost as often as we hear the word Fall. But it has some beauty. The air can get crispy cool in the mornings and evenings and the light is very pretty. I love the cover of His Saving Grace!

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    1. You have really dealt with a lot the past couple of months Claire and I hope the air quality is much better and that the state is out of danger.i love that cover too. Very romantic!

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  3. Oh, I love going to the Island with you... We're having an extraordinarily beautiful fall here in Indiana. I'm with Claire on that cover--it's gorgeous!

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    1. It sounds like autumn is great in many places this year. We definitely can use the boost in morale that Nature can give.

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  4. I'm in love with your island even though I've never seen it. I find it fascinating that the deer swim out to stay seasonally and swim back in the fall. Enjoy your last bit of island life.

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  5. There's something about the golden rod--and everything else on your gorgeous island. We're having a lovely fall here in Wisconsin, too. It's my favorite time of year. And there's something about geese that pass in huge numbers that touch something in me. It never gets old. Thanks for the tour!

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    1. I'm with you that enjoying Nature never gets old Virginia! And the golden rod have been a boon for the bees too. They should produce enough honey to get them through the winter, fingers crossed!

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  7. I got that first feeling of fall a few weeks ago. The irony, where I live, is that the local crops arrive mid-summer or into fall, this year even later than usual. I ate my first ear of corn about the same time I felt autumn in the air. Leaves start turning on some trees in August. Driving through the forest becomes a swirling kaleidoscope of color. The pumpkin spiders also begin emerging. I don't know what the scientists call them, but the local folks named them for the season. Unfortunately, smoke drifts through our area right now, not from autumn hearths but wildfires in the distance. I usually greet fall with pleasure, but now mourn the shorter days tempered with the knowledge that Christmas activities, usually so enjoyable in the area, will be absent as we continue limiting public gatherings. Still, I plan on enjoying what I can. Today I saw my first Halloween decoration, a skeleton with a flowered head garland on my neighbor's porch railing. Happy fall, everyone!

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    1. Halloween decorations already!! We'll be having our Thanksgiving in two weeks so lots of pumpkins (for pies) are in stores now. I haven't been to a big store for a while but bet there are lots of Halloween treats available too. Wonder what kids will do,this year? Oh dear. I'm glad you're enjoying your autumn too Callie and I have to ask, how big is a pumpkin spider??

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    2. Well, any spider seems big to me. This one has a fairly large body, sometimes about the size of a fingernail. It also has thick legs and seems to love putting its web right where you are going to run into it. I think the early Halloween decor is for a few reasons. They have a 3 year-old so getting into is probably fun - also, it's probably nice to have something normal to do in the midst of all this weirdness. Anyway, it's fun to go past it and see. I hope people put up lots of Christmas lights this year, too.

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  8. Janice, those fall asters are gorgeous! My family went out and enjoyed the first day of fall with a mile (each way) hike to a waterfall. The trees are still green but there was the occasional red or yellow leaf on the ground. The weather was perfect today. Thanks for sharing what fall is like in Canada.

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    1. I think we love the fall so much because it's prettier in so many ways...especially the tree colours. I saw the photo of that waterfall on your FB page, Tanya. Beautiful!!

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  9. Our sign of fall in Alabama is the hummingbird population expands and I fill feeders more frequently as those farther north stop by before heading across the gulf of Mexico. The cooler mornings are a blessing.

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  10. Cooler nights also a blessing! We've been loving the hummingbirds all summer and haven't seen on recently. They're on their way to you!

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