I'm pedaling my trail bike through a woods carpeted with brightly colored leaves. There's a chill to the air but when I look down at my deeply tanned hands it's still summer.
The squirrels are in hyperdrive, and one in particular seems especially dexterous. I watch as he expertly peels the skins of one black walnut after another.
What more reliable sign of approaching winter than Canada geese forming up overhead into larger and larger formations that suddenly gel into half mile-long Vs, turning and cartwheeling and then finally finding a southerly heading with the inevitable few stragglers honk honking to catch up.
Away go the hummer feeders and out comes the big front yard feeder. It got quite a workout last winter and is caked with the powdery residue of the 75 pounds or so of seed that poured through it and all those little mouths.
Last week it snowed four inches, more in the higher altitudes. Two days ago I was wearing a wool ski cap, insulated gloves and a heavyish jacket. Yesterday there wasn't even a hint of a chill and I was bareheaded and in shirtsleeves.
It won't be long now before the evening cacophony of the crickets is silenced, but last night it was a four-part harmony. Oh, make that three parts. The fourth was a distant car alarm.Photograph by Tracy