Moving into fall. Early last week I saw a clump of yellow aspen leaves bordering Sierra Star Golf Course. A few minutes later I picked up a single yellow leaf off Lodestar Road. For nearly a month, I’d noticed an increasing number of denuded pine cones – squirrels busy stashing food for the winter.
This past weekend, the pine butterflies were in fluttering force. The small, delicate, white with black-lace-edges butterflies are out from August to October, laying their eggs before winter.
There are so many clues that summer is waning in the mountains. Season changes are much more subtle in southern California, but definitely there. One summer when we were living in Santa Barbara the maple trees on our street began turning red in August.
Late August, Seaside
I rise from a chilled night, sleeping deep
to find sweetgum leaves quivering
against a gray rain sky.
Two weeks ago in baking heat
they began blushing, red encroaching green.
By the time September turns
these leaves will finish in claret splendor.
I remember now how August can fall in the mountains
scrub oaks rusting the slopes, aspens
firing to gold up high near tree line.
Turns more than leaf color:
curls me inward,
hibernation of the spirit and
time of deep nesting, couched in
swirling words of thick novels and
Rachmaninov’s romantic drifts,
and reflecting the glow of a fireplace
seen from without on icicled nights.
There is so much movement in the
simple shiver of August’s leaf.