During the intense, draining heat of summer, some of my friends start expressing dread of the coming cold. For me, cooler days bring relief. I can always add gloves, hat, heavy jacket, boots, but there is a limit to how much I can strip off and still appear in public.
When coots appear, I know winter is on its way. Our summer is too warm for them too, but when October rolls around they swim on our waters with as much pleasure as I head out on my walks.
Our mallards don’t migrate. They hang out in our waters twelve months of the year, dabbling for food and eyeing passersby to see if they’ve brought treats. This time of year they pair up. They will hang together out until nesting season, when the males lose interest in their partners.
The Great Blue Heron stays all year too. In fall the smaller birds don’t harass bigger species that venture near their nests. So he hangs out a lot on this nesting platform, between bouts of patient watching for fish.
Summer flowers die. Grasses and leaves turn yellow, orange and red.
Geese who’ve spent the winter further north settle into our parks. Around three in the morning they waken me with their squabbles over sleeping quarters.
Goldeneye ducks reappear on our waters.
At the end of my walks, a warm, cozy home awaits. Root vegetables, squash, kale and apples reappear in our meals. The great turning completes its cycle of birth, life, death. And somehow that cycle makes me feel peaceful and gives me hope.