Autumn scenes from this week

I love this time of year.  The colors, the crisp air… oh wait!  Where IS the crisp, cool air of autumn?  Today it’s warm and humid, unseasonably warm and humid.  We’ve had over a week of warm weather.  Indian Summer, that last gasp of warmth before we settle into cooler days and chilly nights.

One of the best things about autumn is being able to watch the changes on and around the pond.  We’ve had still days with glossy, glass-like reflections on the water.

And cloudy days with matt-like reflections.  The wonderful thing about the cloudy days is the way the colors pop, bright and shiny as if making up for the gloominess of the sky.

M and I have been using the new porch quite a bit.  We’ve been eating our dinners out there, watching the sun as it sets.  The sunsets this week have been spectacular.

Really spectacular…

The full moon on Monday was lovely, too.  Unfortunately my photography skills are not up to par when it comes to capturing the moon, especially when the clouds are rolling mostly in and sometimes out.

(Full moon as seen through the trees and clouds.)

I like the various names for the full moon in October:

  1. Hunter’s Moon (Colonial American)
  2. Blood Moon (English Medieval)
  3. Blackberry Moon (Native American — Choctaw)
  4. Moon When Quilling and Beading is Done (Native American — Dakotah Sioux)
  5. Kindly Moon (Chinese)

If I were to name this year’s October full moon, I’d call it Owl Moon.  A great horned owl who lives in the woods behind the pond has been very vocal at night this month, particularly on the night of the full moon.  Hoo-hoo-hooooo-hoo-hoo.

The bluebirds come to the bird bath several times a day, splashing water around and shimmering in the sunlight during the morning hours when the sun peeks through the leaves of the tree that protects the birds in the bath.  Some of the bigger birds — cardinals, blue jays, doves — bully the little guys out of there, then splash most of the water out in one sitting.  I have to go out several times a day to keep it full.

We spotted a black squirrel near the woods at the back of the pond yesterday.  M was thrilled.  We had plenty of black squirrels playing in the trees when we lived in Kent (you can read a little about the black squirrels of Kent here), but haven’t seen any on our property here up until yesterday.  I saw a gray squirrel in the woods when I was out for a walk the other day.  I was glad to see it climbing around in the trees back there rather than in the trees towards the front of the property near the road.  Squirrels living at the front of the property generally don’t live very long.  They seem to have a penchant for hanging out on the road where not all drivers brake for animals (or can brake safely, for that matter, since they zoom by pretty quickly).

I wonder if the black squirrel and the gray squirrel will survive the great horned owl or the red-tailed hawks that live in the area.

Yes, I love this time of year.  I know some folks, particularly those of us who live in the north, have mixed feelings about autumn.  September is full of beginnings (going back to school, for instance) and the cooler weather that slowly moves in is usually a welcome relief after the heat and humidity of August.  But October, especially around mid-October when the colors burst forth and the nights become nippy and the first frost lies upon the ground, well, that’s when thoughts of winter begin to intrude.

I don’t usually think ahead to winter.  I like to rest in the moment of Autumn’s splendor, and wrap myself in her colors.  The sights, the tastes, the scents of autumn are all invigorating to me.  Crisp, electric, filled with energy.  This is my favorite time of year for hiking (something M and I haven’t found time to do lately) and rambling around in the woods.  We usually take at least one weekend trip to the mountains of Pennsylvania.  I don’t think we’ll make it this year.  Not in time to enjoy the peak of the fall foliage.

I like the fruits and vegetables associated with October.  Apples, pears, pumpkins, squashes, cabbages and greens.  Greens make a comeback in October, liking the cooler days and nights.

This is, to me, the lovliest part of the year.  A gift.  Mother Nature’s way of partying before winter arrives and tones things down.