Suddenly… Summer’s end
Leaves are turning… some are falling. A few honks from overhead Canada geese – are they scouts? -- reminding us that their migratory Vs will soon be passing by overhead, bidding us adieu for another year.
Suddenly, summer’s at its closing finale, not quite it’s final bow, but a tap on the shoulder. A premonition of the colours that will soon adorn our Pontiac hills. A reminder that, when flirting with lows of +8 C, lower temperatures approach.
Revel in today
Sure, there are autumn’s harbingers -- and yes, of winter’s approach.
But let’s revel in today’s heat. We can hit a pause button in our busy days and sit on the deck, at the beach, in our canoe… wherever we can take a comfortable break.
Breathe in the soft air. Admire the fog in the morning, draping and thus, sculpting the ridges and folds in the Eardley Escarpment, the southern boundary of Gatineau Park.
Listen to the birds. Blue jays now call as they always do at summer’s end. They’ve returned from their summer in the forest and now flit and cry alongside the house, their “squeaky porch door” call being a signature of early fall.
Enjoy summer’s visitors before they fly south: our ruby-throated hummingbird babies are now the size of their parents. They hover and zoom, playing with one another, drinking nectar from our various fruit-sage plants – the royal-blue hummingbird, tangerine, and raspberry sage plants which they love so dearly. And, when sipping a glass of wine on the deck last week, two hummer babies buzzed me, hovering perhaps half a metre in front of my face, examining me. So close.
Scents of summer…
Summer has its characteristic scents. In 1958 we arrived in Canada from England and, that first autumn, my little family were invited to Georgian Bay. What a quintessential Canadian rugged landscape: rounded rocks worn by glaciers. Classic white, red and jack pines with their boughs sweeping away from their consummate sculptor, the wind.
It was there that I first smelled this signature fragrance of a Canadian summer: pine needles heated by the sun, kept warm after sunset by baked rock. The pungent scent of sun and pine. It will always be with me, conjured by memory.
Tastes of summer…
Tomatoes. Really? This year we have had a bumper crop. One tomato was 1,299 grams. When I posted its photo on Facebook, a New York City friend noted it would fetch US$12 - $15.00 at a farmers’ market in that city.
The astonishingly large (and tasty) variety is Australian Big Rainbow and yes, it’s big. Luscious. However? Although it might be the largest, we have vines boasting several of these giants, seemingly impossibly held by a system of overhead “scaffolding” and twine. Sure, the supports are hand made, but the vines somehow manage to hold up their heavy burdens.
They’re joined by chubby purple cabbage and yellow onions, luscious looking leeks and lustrous aubergines. So many vegetables represent a good winter ahead, where pantries and freezers will be full.
As summer makes her exit, she lingers. A soft breeze on the water stirs a wee rough of waves, glorious to paddle through. A still night brings its canopy of stars -- and perhaps a modest bonfire, with yarns spun and memories born.
As summer disappears, we embrace thankfulness. October’s approaching Thanksgiving reminds us to give thanks to Nature, appreciate the bounty wrought by heat, rain, and more heat.
Here, in this land we call Pontiac, we have fresh air to breathe, clear water to paddle in, and both forests and fields to cherish. It’s called natural abundance.
Let’s cherish this land. Together, working for its best interests, which might not align precisely with what our personal wants might be, we can maintain Pontiac’s beauty, conserve its biodiversity, wonder at Nature’s amazing gifts.
Katharine Fletcher is a freelance writer and visual artist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo caption: Big Rainbow tomato is 1299 grams.
Photo credit: Katharine Fletcher