Notes from the Waxhaws


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These hot, humid days we’ve been having in the Carolinas belie the fact that the end of summer is approaching. I’ve finally made the connection in my mind…somewhat late in life, I’m afraid…that each year has its own sunrise (the vernal equinox)…its noon-day sun (summer solstice)…its midnight (winter solstice)…as well as its (now rapidly approaching) sunset, known as the autumnal equinox. My favorite time of year has always been Autumn.

My favorite part of the day is that somewhat magical time just after the sun has set below the horizon…when the illusion of bright blue sky slowly surrenders to the celestial wonders above. The gloaming. As a professed lover of the gloaming, it finally dawned on me why I like Autumn. Autumn…the gloaming…they are, in my mind, very much the same…the beginning-of-the-end of a cycle…the final approach to a period of rest…from which a new beginning emerges out of the darkness.

I felt the coming change in my bones this past week…when I noticed that the hummingbird feeder had hardly been touched since last weekend when I last filled it. The red nectar was still only about a half-inch from the top. During the summer, a weekly fill-up was needed to keep up with the insatiable appetites of the ruby-throated hummingbirds that had become daily visitors. It suddenly occurred to me that the tiny birds must have started their fall migration. I did some research…and sure enough…found out that come late August-early September, the hummers begin their long flights…lasting hundreds, and even thousands of miles to the south. I imagined these very small (weighing in at a tenth-of-an-ounce or so), indefatigable birds …single-mindedly winging their way…seemingly against all odds… to exotic wintering grounds in the Argentine. Leaving me behind…in the darkness…until the sunrise of next year.

Written by Jim

September 7, 2014 at 6:34 pm

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