I think this wasp might be a steel-blue cricket hunter because the crickets are out and about. Though it seems like I hear them all summer long I don’t ever see crickets until fall officially arrives. But all it takes is one solstice and poof: suddenly they appear. Everywhere. And where there are crickets, there will be wasps.
Other signs share stories about how the world is shifting and adjusting to changes in the sun’s energy. Though we haven’t seen rain for many weeks the temperatures have finally reached that sweet spot where dew can form. Water from nowhere. It is so abundant and weighty the purple mulhy grass gets pushed right to the ground. What a strange grass it is. The texture is reminiscent of cotton candy. When highlighted with water drops, the colours are as glittery and improbable as a 1950s tinsel tree. But it sure is efficient at capturing water and it probably will save many lives as we all wait for the autumn rains.
Autumn has always awakened a yearning for change in me. Where I grew up it was the time when the birds left. I imagined them flying off to tropical paradises and felt some envy. That letter V in the sky represented freedom.
Now, fall means the birds have returned and I am filled with hope. Once again, screech owls trill in the darkness. Only in October do I ever hear crows. I can hear them calling now from literally miles away. Both birds pull me out of the house and suddenly I realize: the air feels fresh and new. Quickened.
This fall questions of renewal and vitality are piling up inside me. I feel so fortunate just to be alive; I don’t want to be wasteful of the gift. What to do. What to do.
On the pavement is a reminder that life feeds on death …
And in the shrubbery, I see a reminder that life requires change and growth …
This snake skin might explain the disappearing rat trick. Last winter I spotted two rats living in our garden shed. I didn’t want to share the news with my husband because he is more practical than I am. I’d be happy to give them shelter but I knew he would want them evicted. With extreme prejudice if need be. Just as we were beginning negotiations, all signs of the rats slipped away. From time to time I had wondered what happened to them.
The skin I found measured a couple of feet long. Where the eyes were the skin was diamond clear. The hexagon-like pattern on top looked more like bubble wrap than the photo suggests. As I unravelled the snake skin from the branches I kept expecting it to tear but keeping it intact was easy. Snake skins are not nearly as delicate as I imagined.
I did want to know what kind of snake was living with us. The dorsal pattern can be used to determine if the snake is a viper or a constrictor. This snake happens to be some kind of constrictor and so we need not fear it. My best guess is that it is from a baby rat snake. If so, it could grow to be very big — bigger than I am.
In the meanwhile I will be watching for something that might look like this:
My fall gardening time is mostly spent on raking up leaves to feed my garden soil. Feeding soil is easy. Pile up the leaves and everything just takes care of itself. Feeding the spirit? I am much less certain. What needs to die within. What wants to grow and change. I guess that is what winter is for — time for dreaming and the process of renewal to begin.