The Nature of Eureka


Upside-down Seasons

The summer flowering season is winding down. Pollinators are flying a little more slowly, hummingbirds have stopped coming to the feeder, suggesting that they are on their long annual sojourn back to tropical America. In another ten days we will be at the height of whatever fall color we’re are going to enjoy in the Ozarks. Witch hazel will begin its leafless blooming ritual. I clean the leaves off my front and back porches daily now.

The native red mulberry is starting to turn yellow, but it will take the first hard freeze for their leaves to drop, and that will happen within the first morning of the first freeze; leaves raining down within two-hours’ time. I’m anticipating the annual drop of the yellow ginkgo leaves from the two ginkgos flanking the Post Office parking lot. They, too, all drop in the morning after the first hard freeze. Each year, I plan for that event so that I can record the slow fluttering spectacle in time-lapsed video. Each year there’s always been something more pressing on that morning, so I’ve missed the opportunity. What could be more important?

The old traditional predicters of a cold winter hold no sway anymore. The climate has become unpredictable. Each year for as many years as I can remember, there’s been a prediction of a hard winter, yet we’ve had no more than an inch of snow at any one time for the past five years. “Predictable” is a word that has less meaning in our language these days, especially when it comes to weather patterns.

We hunker down for another lovely Ozark autumn at a time when we are in a mood to be done with hunkering down in 2020. However, as this autumn begins to cool toward winter it is a time to tune into nature and take heed of the instinct to go within to contemplate a warm fire and a time of solitude.

Whatever is happening in human society is irrelevant to the deeper natural human instinct to survive. There’s something floating in the air, a tiny virus in which a billion individuals can fit on the head of the pin. Call it fake news, call it a hoax, but you can’t deny that all the current news about the people working at the White House has gone viral.

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