Last night I lay in bed still awake as it closed in on Midnight. As I lay there I heard the familiar late summer gathering of the Caspian Terns. Lots of raucous tern song over head as they gathered under the stars to discuss their upcoming journey. I smiled and sent them wishes of fair well and safe travels. When the late night, late summer calls of the terns start, they head south shortly after. Sure enough, this morning I heard them calling early, more of them than I had heard last night. My dear feathered friends whose return each year I look so forward to and whose departure is always felt with a touch of sorrow a few months later as they leave. I have come to think that they know of my fondness of them, for they always seem to gather over my house and call out each spring to announce their return and late each summer they seem to gather again over my house and call out their farewells. I’ll see less and less of them over the coming days, when finally the sky will no longer have tern song wafting across it till they return again next year.
The morning of the same day I looked out the window upon waking and noticed for the first time that change in the light that tells me Summer is truly beginning to give way to Autumn. It’s a quality and a feel I have yet to find accurate words for, but it is something I know when I see it. With it comes a feeling of needing to take advantage of every last day of the season as fully as I can. To get those blackberries picked before they begin to dry up on the vines. To get as many more swims in before the weather gets to cool to jump in the lake.
The changes in the season were more apparent than I expected them to be when I was hiking this past weekend with my nephews and their parents. Huge swaths of bright ornage and yellow shelf mushrooms were in full flush on tree trunks and old fallen logs. Mushrooms of all sorts were popping up from the forest floor dispite no rain over the past several weeks. Blue huckleberries were already ripe and ready to pluck from bushes. Deciduous trees were showing touches of color. All early signs of the changing of the gaurd of Summer to that of Autumn.
It seems surreal in some ways. It was only three weeks ago that I was turned back on a backpacking trip because of a snow field that hadn’t melted yet and wasn’t safely passable with out climbing gear. Along that same trail there had been an abundance of blooms, signs that summer had only recently come to the mountains. Summer is so fleeting and even more so up in the mountains. It seems all the more because of our love for the season and all it brings. Lazy hot days on beaches. Refreshing cools swims in lakes. Abundant juicy fruit that drips down your chin and brings your mouth to life.
I think summer teaches us the most of the importance of never letting a moment go by without living it fully because it will give way faster than we could ever imagine no matter how many times we have experienced it. It is inevitable. So I am reminded again to take in all that remaining beauty and fullness as summer gives way to autumn in a graceful release of abundance and light.