The mellow year is hasting to its close;
The little birds have almost sung their last,
Their small notes twitter in the dreary blast –
That shrill-piped harbinger of early snows.
— Hartley Coleridge, from “November”
Yes, before too long this year will be drawing to its close, and there are still many things from this year left to write about – witnessing the arrival of the sockeye salmon to spawn and die in the rivers, photographing bighorn sheep in the dry hills, raking the last leaves of the year, and of course reading lots of good books. I haven’t posted here as much as I had intended. Some days the bright sun of the last few warm days of the year was too tempting, and I just had to go out to rake leaves. I love raking, even when I know that I will have to do it all over again after the wind has brought down a few more. But soon, there will be no more leaves, no more flowers, no more green things growing in the garden.
This is a season of life and death, of putting things away and closing things up in preparation for the coming winter. The garden is empty and bare, the last carrots dug, the sunflower heads snipped off and tucked into the base of the small garden windmill, so the birds can eat the seeds throughout the winter. The salmon have made their journey up the river from the ocean, spawning and laying the eggs that will become the future generation of salmon – even as their own bodies decay and they die, feeding other animals and enriching the ecosystem. The leaves have fallen from the trees, becoming part of the soil on which next year’s plants will grow. And the mating season for deer and bighorn sheep is well underway.
This autumn I was finally able to photograph the larch trees in their fall colours. Here in western North America, most of our trees are staid evergreen conifers and hence we do not see the grand displays of colour that occur in the east. One exception to this is the larch, a deciduous conifer whose needles turn a lovely yellow-orange colour in the fall. Larches are not that common in the valley bottoms, as they typically grow further up in the hills, and so I had never photographed them before. But it was a foggy and grey day when we went to search out larches, and so my photos did not turn out that well. Maybe next year I will try again.
Autumn is my favourite season, even though it is one often tinged with regret. Death and decay are more noticeable now than at other times of the year, and with only a few weeks remaining in the year, it is also when I realize that I will likely not have time to accomplish all of the things that I imagined back in January. I have realized by now that I will not be able to complete my A to Z posts this year. To finish all 26 posts in one year (as was my original plan), I would have needed to complete at least 2 posts per month, which has not happened. I’m not sure if I should continue them in 2015, until the alphabet is finished, or end them at the end of this year. What do you think? Do you find these posts interesting and would you like to see them continue in 2015, or do you think I should end them? I find that a long series of blog posts can grow tiresome, so I understand if you’d prefer to see them ended.
The “dreary blast” is blowing outside my window as I write this, whirling the last few leaves from the trees, and winter-like temperatures are forecast for the coming days. Autumn, like this year, is hasting to its close.