Autumnal Equinox. Say it fast, three times for a giggle. Well, maybe a chuckle? I guess it would depend on your sense of humor at this early hour.
That said, its official—summer is over.
The hummers left two days ago, near as I can tell. They spent Sunday afternoon hovering and twittering around the feeders, darting and dodging one another, giggling and spatting in their usual adorable way. Their little round bellies evidenced impending departure—I’ve seen it year after year, and sure enough, all was silent Monday morning. And afternoon. Even as the sun was setting—usually an active time at the feeders—still silence. Yesterday the same. I watched for them off-and-on through the day, but only silence.
I will keep the feeders fresh until the first hard frost, because there are always visitors on their way through. They spread the word, you know, reporting the best Hummer Inns along the route south. I like to think Hare Hollow is on their list.
Most years, just as we think we’ve seen the last of them, along will come a feisty few, tweetling and darting again, perching on the clothesline, resting and preening awhile before gorging again. In a day or two, that group is also gone.
BackPorch is looking rather bare as well—another sign the season has come to a close. All but three houseplants have been bathed, top-dressed, pruned and prettied before being settled into their indoor spots again. The last three will come in today—we’ve seen our first nighttime temps dip into the forties.
As usual, there will be pouting, BackPorch is their absolute favorite place, and they don’t come in without some protest. They drop leaves, lose their shiny outdoor greenness, and hold their stems in odd positions until they get accustomed to the change.
Soon though, they’ll be twining down around a shelf, reaching out to one another in companionship—and yes, it’s true, even plants don’t do well if they are isolated from others. Before long they’ll be chugging along, doing their daily chore of cleaning the indoor-air. Oh, it’ll be mid-February before we see any remarkable new growth, but they know. When the days lengthen, and the sun grows stronger, BackPorch calls again.
Meanwhile, for Mama Hare, these dark early mornings call for lit candles on the stove, a steaming kettle, a pot of hot cereal rich with cinnamon, cloves and raisins bubbling happily on the back burner. Steaming mug and bowl are carried out to BackPorch where I’ll wrap myself mummy-style in a big fleece blanket, and settle in my chair to watch the sunrise over Hare Hollow.
Not surprisingly, when I glance up at MouseHouse Veranda, who should I see also greeting the sunrise but Sir Fivel and his lady. They are sitting on the wee glider he built for her earlier in the season, sipping their tiny mugs of chicory. I wave in greeting. Sir Fivel nods and tips his cap. Lady Fivelina smiles demurely. We are silent though, there’s just something ethereal about this time of day, it’s a time for quiet introspection.
Happy Autumnal Equinox, my friends!