Este-Vale

On a long trail ride today, at midday, I felt the turn of the year—or if it hasn’t turned yet, it’s at least  yearning to change course.

No insects circling my horse’s head, battening on her warm neck! And the silence.  From the tree frogs in Spring through, mayflies, mosquitoes, black flies in July and August, we hear “those dying generations at their song” as Yeats wrote.  To me, their song sounds like: “We-e-e-e  mus-s-s-t!”  The insects will do anything to get the blood meal they need to gestate.  Nothing personal, I fancy them thinking, and, well,  IF you have to, take a swat at me, but….I need!”   And so, also, sing the swooping swallows and bats who consume the insects.

My favorites are the fireflies (not least because they don’t eat us!)  When I walk at night in April, I see the larvae glowing among the gravel and dried leaf debris on the sides of our lane, the colour of tiny LEDs.   In June, they take to the air, a million living meteorites seeking  fulfillment.  Now, once again, they have returned to the place where their light was kindled, there, in the gritty mulch, after passing their cool greenish torches to their offspring, they will cease to be.  It is only the next “must”.

The woods are still glossily  verdant.  From a distance, the canopy is beginning to show a slight bronzing, and you might  see an older tree which is displaying a few bright red branches,  like a flash  of scarlet petticoat.   But once inside the forest, young trees and sappers are still green, and  will be for a long time.   After the canopy is bare, so that no colour can be seen from afar, then they will flourish  their  red and gold and orange.  They are glorious in November! (Nobody ever believes me when I tell ‘em this!  Good— more solitude for me!)

Summer’s work, estivation, is done. “The whispering year is gone” as MacLeish wrote in Immortal Autumn.  Summer’s edifice, now, is like a splendid palace, swept and garnished, the busy,  cacophonous, workers who sang, ate and were eaten, mated, bustled about in her halls while their labours  were in progress,  home have gone and ta’en their wages…it is finished.  They are at rest, and as Shakespeare wrote:

The rest is silence.

10+

Users who have liked this post:

  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar
  • avatar

7 thoughts on “Este-Vale”

  1. Thank you for the new word “estivation”.

    I don’t know how bothersome it is, but it would be great to see some pictures of these things. I appreciate the descriptions.

    3+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
    • avatar
    • avatar
  2. I wish I could.  Pictures I take on my IPad are no longer appearing in my Photo Lbrary.  It’s nothing I did.  They always used to, then they stopped,  just when I had learned how to post ‘em.  I hope I can correct it by Nov, then I can show you the brilliance of the sappers.

    3+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
    • avatar
    • avatar
  3. Hypatia:
    I wish I could.  Pictures I take on my IPad are no longer appearing in my Photo Lbrary.  It’s nothing I did.  They always used to, then they stopped,  just when I had learned how to post ‘em.  I hope I can correct it by Nov, then I can show you the brilliance of the sappers.

    As a temporary solution can you load the photos to another computer and post from there.

    I thought your husband had fixed the problem. Have you made it crystal clear to him that his job is on the line? 😉

    0

  4. Yes.   We enjoy minding the seasons as they change.   This is our second year in the swamp, so wild things that we rarely saw because we did not stay out on the trails after dark when we had to leave the parks by closing time are things we experience regularly now.   The katydids are only calling for about an hour at sunset now, and in sparse numbers.   You can barely hear them for the racket put up by crickets.   The frogs all went quiet as soon as the nightly lows got down into the 70s Fahrenheit.   We still have afternoon highs in the 90s F., but the evenings are very pleasant now.

    We will not get a spectacular burst of autumn color.   I saw Massachusetts one fall, where every deciduous tree turned color in a single glorious fortnight in October.   Here in our swamp, every species chooses a different time to turn.   Birches are yellow now, poplars will be yellow next week; hornbeams and hophornbeams will turn, but briefly; they go directly to brown unless conditions are perfect.   Some of the oaks will begin to turn in November, straggling out until the last oaks turn at Thanksgiving.   Maples turn in October and early November, but they are not all that numerous around here.   It will be Christmas before all our trees turn color, and we won’t have those pretty bare woods, either, because some of our common Southern oak species will hold their leaves until March when the new buds push them off.

    Deer will be getting more adventurous, or hungry, after Thanksgiving; they will roam farther from their woodsy homes and come foraging in suburban yards in the neighborhood nearby.

    But for right now, the great excitement is the hummingbirds.   We have a caravan of ruby throats moving through on their way south.   All our feeders stay busy, and the flowers that are still in bloom have a constant battle for supremacy going on around them.

    I took Snooks to the Hummingbird Festival this past weekend.   That is something we go to about every three years or so.   It is always fun.

    https://strawberry.audubon.org/hummingbird-videos

    3+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
    • avatar
    • avatar
  5. MJBubba:
    Yes.   We enjoy minding the seasons as they change.   This is our second year in the swamp, so wild things that we rarely saw because we did not stay out on the trails after dark when we had to leave the parks by closing time are things we experience regularly now.

    You two sound like Shrek et   Ux: Got your swamp back! 😉

    The katydids are only calling for about an hour at sunset now, and in sparse numbers.   You can barely hear them for the racket put up by crickets.   The frogs all went quiet as soon as the nightly lows got down into the 70s Fahrenheit.   We still have afternoon highs in the 90s F., but the evenings are very pleasant now.

    We will not get a spectacular burst of autumn color.   I saw Massachusetts one fall, where every deciduous tree turned color in a single glorious fortnight in October.   Here in our swamp, every species chooses a different time to turn.   Birches are yellow now, poplars will be yellow next week; hornbeams and hophornbeams will turn, but briefly; they go directly to brown unless conditions are perfect.   Some of the oaks will begin to turn in November, straggling out until the last oaks turn at Thanksgiving.   Maples turn in October and early November, but they are not all that numerous around here.   It will be Christmas before all our trees turn color, and we won’t have those pretty bare woods, either, because some of our common Southern oak species will hold their leaves until March when the new buds push them off.

    Thank you for this bulletin about life outside the Temperate Zone.    I can’t say it entices me, but I recognize and reverence the love of a denizen! 

    Deer will be getting more adventurous, or hungry, after Thanksgiving; they will roam farther from their woodsy homes and come foraging in suburban yards in the neighborhood nearby.

    Up here, they’re all over the place all year, until hunting season arrives…

    But for right now, the great excitement is the hummingbirds.   We have a caravan of ruby throats moving through on their way south.   All our feeders stay busy, and the flowers that are still in bloom have a constant battle for supremacy going on around them.

    I took Snooks to the Hummingbird Festival this past weekend.   That is something we go to about every three years or so.   It is always fun.

    https://strawberry.audubon.org/hummingbird-videos

    It’s nice to know where the bright wingéd jewels I occasionally see in summer spend their winters!  Thank you for sharing this description of  your dulce domum! 

    1+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
  6. Hypatia:
    It’s nice to know where the bright wingéd jewels I occasionally see in summer spend their winters!

    Oh, the hummingbirds don’t winter over here; they are just passing through.   They muster here into groups, then move further south.   They have a long way to go.

    A few older ones and ones who are ill will winter over on the Gulf coasts of Mississippi and Louisiana.   Most of our ruby throats will cross the Gulf of Mexico to Yucatan, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

    They pause here to muster and to tank up.   They are really hungry, bulking up for that long flight across the Gulf.   It is a mystery as to how they make it for a flight of 550 miles.

    Some of them go to Texas and follow the coast, but coast watchers in Texas and Mexico do not report enough numbers to account for the full migration.   It is known that many hummingbirds cross directly over, but there are several aspects of that flight that are still unknown.

    Tough little birds.

    3+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
    • avatar
    • avatar

Leave a Reply