It has been fall for over three weeks now. The autumnal equinox has come and gone. September 22nd marked the official start of autumn in the northern hemisphere and relatively equal day and night across the globe. That day, three weeks ago, we had twelve hours and eight minutes of daylight counting the daylight between sunrise and sunset. Today, we had eleven hours and six minutes and each evening and when the sunsets, we will have even less. Fall is here and we are on our way into winter.
But as fall here marks a period of time when the days are shorter, the nights longer and cooler with temperatures descending closer to freezing we rebound with surprisingly warm afternoons. Last night, the temperature dipped down into the forties and last week, we even had a touch of frost, at least on the roof tops. It has been a dry fall with very little rain.
The lawns have stopped growing like they were in the summer when we had so much rain and the leaves are beginning to fall from the trees. It is strange how the color of the trees seems to change almost overnight. Our house is surrounded by many trees, mostly maples but a couple of ashes, and an oak across the street. The ash trees are dropping their leaves. They are a brownish yellowy colored dry leaf and which is easily blown by the wind or raked into piles. The maples are slow to turn and drop, but I spied our prettiest tree yesterday morning and took a picture. It is in the back of the house and largely hidden from the street, but it is the prettiest orange-red-yellow tree we have. The rest of our maple trees turn gold and then drop their leaves. Sometimes if there is a frost, they just simply drop their leaves before they change from the light green color to gold. The trees in the front yard drop their leaves first, followed by the side yard, and then the backyard trees fall in waves. They are all down by the second week in November and we are left raking and bagging for a full day each weekend.
This past week, as I have walked Ivy at night, I have looked upward and downward. Upward, I found the moon in the western sky in the early evening and Jupiter still visible high in the sky and bright as ever. On clear nights, and there have been many, the stars shine brightly as Ivy sniffs her way around the neighborhood. The two of us are no longer silent walkers but we crunch our way along the sidewalk through dry leaves waiting to be raked and bagged. Tonight, it was a little breezy and the wind skipped leaves about in front of us almost as if there was a rabbit, or another critter, and Ivy leaped forward tugging at the leash. It spooked me, even if only for a moment.
Yes, indeed fall is here. The days will only get shorter and the nights grow much longer and even colder. I will still need to walk Ivy and I suspect, Ivy will still sniff and tug at the leash as we walk together. I hope I will remember the nights when the leaves were crunchy and the sky bright with stars. Making the Days Count, one day at a time and sometimes, even one walk at a time.