Our Winter Forecast

Autumn at Domehenge

I’ve tried to ignore the fact that autumn is arriving. In fact, it’s here. Not that the weather has been particularly chilly for the end of September, except on rare days, and frankly, it really is my favorite season. It’s just that winter follows so quickly.

However, reminders of the season are here. Now, as I drive to town, I realize that the school buses have been back on the road for at least three weeks. I must say they do bring a touch of nostalgia. I wait as the bus arrives and lifts up its “STOP” sign. I wonder if the children have anxious tummies as they go off for another day in the classroom, or if they’re excited to be starting a new day. They climb up the steps, backpacks sagging with books and homework, which I do hope they remembered to finish.

The mountaintop is quiet. No children waiting for buses up here. However, signs of autumn don’t go unnoticed. Our back deck is getting covered in leaves, mainly from our Japanese cherry trees, which seem to lose their foliage earlier than others in the forest. I promised myself I’d go out and sweep them off. I haven’t yet. After all, many more will fall. Maybe the wind will whisk them away for me.

The other trees are slowly changing color. I notice it more as I look across to the far mountain ranges. They seemed to have turned overnight from various shades of green to patches of orange, red, gold, and yellow.

Our dirt and gravel road is also getting covered with these early-fallen leaves. I walk around the Christopher Way loop for exercise most days and now must keep my eyes on the road to make sure a rock, which I don’t want to trip over, isn’t hiding under maple leaf. I kick the small piles of leaves as I go along and listen to them crackle under my feet. Kicking leaves is what I remember best about autumn––that and their smell.

But signs of winter, or at least warnings about winter, meet me everyday. My woolly bear caterpillar greets me at about the same spot along the road. He must cross from one side to the other, day after day. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for him, climbing over pebbles and stones and then having leaves falling on him to block his view. Frankly, it seems pointless to me that he goes back and forth, although I did see him help a friend across one day, so maybe he’s one of their guides.

The weather report

However, he’s the one who makes me realize that winter is not too far away. His thick, furry coat along with his natural “antifreeze” will help him survive through the coldest of days. But it’s his beautiful coat that is most important to me. It’s black at both ends but has an orange, golden brown mid-section.  My paint palette might label it as “Burnt Orange”, “Burnt Sienna” or “Deep Golden Ochre”.

But the color description is not the important part. I’m mainly interested in the length of the mid-section, and my woolly bear is giving me good news.  It takes up a good share of his body, which means our winter shouldn’t be too bad. I choose to believe him and therefore will no longer look down as I walk in case I might see his family or friends as they cross the road. Their coats may tell a different story.

Did you enjoy this post? Why not leave a comment below and continue the conversation, or subscribe to my feed and get articles like this delivered automatically to your feed reader.


No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.