Sunrise number 266. Today was the first of the final 100 countdown for the year. 99 to go.
Today's was also the first sunrise after the fall equinox. Pretty good show.
I almost missed it, too. I was lingering in bed for just a few more minutes beyond my second alarm, then finally got up and looked out our eastern window.
The entire frame was filled with flaming scarlet, and I sprinted outside in my pajamas. Those scarlet moments don't last long!
So now we are officially in fall, officially into the darker half of the year - but don't forget that means that we're only 3 months from the moment when days get longer and lighter. It also means that the rate of change in the moments of sunrise and sunset will slow down as of today. I won't have to change my alarm quite so often.
It's all okay with me. I like the cold weather. I like darkened evenings, autumn colors, bare branches clicking in the wind, the snap of chill on a winter morning, the blue-white glow of a snowy landscape in twilight, a good book by the wood stove. Bring it on.
There are other signs of the changing of the season. The bird population has dwindled significantly out back; many songbirds and ducks have gone. The frogs are almost all disappeared below, into their muddy hibernation.
Something let them all know - nature's APB, a field memo to all non-human organisms - that it's time to go. It's kind of amazing that they know, and kind of weird that humans don't seem to have the same instinct. At least we don't have it in our consciousness. Perhaps it is our consciousness that obstructs our instinct. Our intellect keeps us from receiving the message.
Here's another Rachel Field poem all about that mystery message from nature:
Something told the wild geese
Something told the wild geese
It was time to go;
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered, . . . "Snow".
Leaves were green and stirring,
But beneath warm feathers
Something cautioned . . . "frost"
All the sagging orchards steamed with amber spice
But each wild breast stiffened at remembered "ice".
Something told the wild geese it was time to fly.
Summer sun was on their wings
Winter in their cry!
It has been put to music and anthologized, very lovely piece.
But here is my mystery question:
There is one change I had never noticed before, and it is baffling to me. It was yesterday that I noticed that there is not a single sign of spider activity left on 13 acres of meadow and lawn. Today I examined more carefully. The pine boughs that I just photographed the other day are entirely bare, and all the other webs that I photographed that day and two days prior (and two days before that!) are gone.
I could understand that "something told the garden spiders" that it was time to go. Perhaps the equinox is their call to pack it in and go into dormancy, or whatever they do. But is deconstruction part of their departure routine?
Do spiders painstakingly take DOWN every thread, every fine strand of webbing from their elaborate creations, before they leave? Is there anything evolutionarily adaptive about removing webs? Why would they do this? Animals could have knocked some down, but not all - and what about the webbed pine boughs? I am amazed. Anyone who has information about this arachnid curiosity, please inform.
What an amazing world.