Summer’s Final Act

As I write, the cold creeps into my hands. Words and letters that once came in swift, arcing motions are now stiff and abrupt. Sunlight filters evenly through a blanket of wooly clouds, no shadows, no brights; a harbinger of the colorless times to come.

“They say we only have two seasons here, summer and winter,” and with snow already populating the forecast and coating the mountains I’m beginning to think that’s true.

The change felt abrupt, seemingly occurring overnight. Afterall, it was only a month ago when we struggled to sleep in the blaze of summer. Now, my muscles stiffen in the breeze and the trees feel it too. Not fooled by the fleeting warmth of the afternoon sun they harden their defenses, preparing for the freeze.

Winter marches in on the wind, reclaiming its territory, chasing summer through the forests like a cowboy herding cattle. From every nook and cranny heat is wrenched from the earth. It rises through trunk and soil, burning the leaves as it escapes into the air and setting the forest on fire. Birds join in to the explosion of color adding blues and other hues as they make their way south.

This is summer’s final act of defiance. It’s a beautiful rebellion in the face of a perennial defeat and the result reveals a complexity that’s not so obvious in the greenwashed summer months.

Through a shifting dance of diversity each plant unveils its intention and character. Some hold their nerve, standing steady against the cold, while others give in to winter’s weight; no longer clothed in chlorophyll.

But these warm colors will soon fade and the cold will sift through barren branches. Winter will once again rule and though the summer will be missed, the long night is needed. Its brutal touch forcing us to retreat, into our homes, into ourselves, carrying a message of restraint and self-care.

With no leaves to betray its presence, the frozen wind will move in secret, howling through the night until it will blows in the spring and we start again.

-Leif

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Wildlife biologist turned writer. This is my library of ramblings on everything from conservation to noisy neighbors.

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Leif Johnson

Leif Johnson

Wildlife biologist turned writer. This is my library of ramblings on everything from conservation to noisy neighbors.

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