We had summer and now it appears we have bypassed fall and are heading into winter. In the Pacific northwest we generally have a gradual move during this time of year, daytime temperature drops to the low to mid 70's, and of course the 50 degree nights, but rather consistently over the past several weeks the rains have come and daytime reflects a drop into the low 60's. Forecasts for the coming weeks are trending toward nights of mid 40's.
This period offers some rest from the vegetable garden as the ever producing zucchini plant, which oft appears to be on steroids while producing more than we can possibly eat in a weeks period, finally appears to be saying 'Okay, that's enough for now'. Tomatoes linger and basil is yet available to accompany them; berries are gone, fennel seed has been collected, a few eggplant linger, and we have yet to dig the last of the potatoes.
Alive and well is the flower garden as the dahlia continues to makes its presence. Changes are occurring as the fall movement in color becomes dramatically breathtaking.
Some of the shorter clump forming ornamental grasses, Pennisetum alopecuroides (Fountain grass) , have begun turning to their warm shades of yellow, orange, and bronze, while others remain in flux as their bright red tips indicate the process is upon us.
The variation this time of year is as springtime, with much change and occasional drama during the course of a single day: a momentary hail storm disappears as quickly as it arrived; a steady rain may be accompanied by wind increase, only to be followed by the tease of the sun as blue sky appears with a rainbow of color, only to remind us of youthful stories and that elusive "pot at the end..." somewhere in the base of that valley.
The berries are abundant among the trees and shrubs. Flocks of Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) hastily and gleefully propel themselves from Madrone to Madrone (Arbutus menziesii) while filling their bellies with the red fruit. I tried to get a good photo, but this is the best could be done with the frenzied moving targets and the tree heights in which they rest.
For finer detail visit wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cedar_waxwing. Are these delightful little bandits not stunning? They're already dressed for Halloween.
Acer rubrum 'Fairview Flame' exclaims the time is near, a favorite period, to put on a sweater, step outside for a casual stroll and feel the briskness of the day while understanding that there is much yet to put to bed.
It is a time to pullback a bit, reassess, reflect, and be happy for what is. It is a time to appreciate that which has been offered, that which is around and before us.