Tuesday Slice of Life : August 23, 2016.
A week of August is left.
But the squirrels have already stripped the walnut tree of its fruit and buried it. At least that’s what my daughter and I think. Yesterday we stood under her old walnut tree, looking for any sign of the abundant crop it had carried earlier in the summer. We saw only one walnut hanging on at the end of a thin branch. We walk around beneath the tree and saw just a few crack, empty shells. Other summers there is such an abundance of crack shells that we have to rake them like fall leaves. In fact, other summers, if we sit beneath the tree, we often have to move because the squirrels pelt us with crack shells as they feast above. This summer that has not happened. Yet, we’ve heard the squirrels for weeks, rattling the chain linked fence as they run along its top, chattering in the trees. We’ve watched them dodge traffic to cross our street as they hurry to the tree. And we’ve picked up the twigs they shake out of the tree. Just yesterday, as I was weeding my rose bushes, I uncovered the first hidden walnuts from this summer’s crop.
In just two weeks it will be Labor Day.
But the ground beneath the pear tree is covered with over-ripened pears. For three weeks now we have watched the pears turn yellow and listened to them fall to the ground. Years ago when we bought our home from the 93-year-old original owners, they told us the pears would be ready for picking on Labor Day. And year after year, sure enough, when Labor Day has rolled around, the pears have been ready to harvest. This year they came early.
September is still eight days away.
But last night the wind blew and the parched, curling leaves in the trees rustled fiercely, rasping out their summons to fall. The sun set a bit further south on the horizon, and as the darkness fell, a coolness rushed in. And I thought to myself, today has felt like a late September Indiana summer day.
Is summer over?
This afternoon, in the warmth of an August sun, with the wind of fall in my hair, surrounded by the smell of sweet ripened fruit, I wonder, What does it mean? The squirrels are burying all the walnuts. The pears have ripen early. And Indian summer weather is already in the air. What kind of winter will this fall usher in?
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