Indian Summer

Field season is over.
It’s been over for a month now.  I still remain “in the field,” but more as a placeholder, an emergency contact, an onsite employee in case the bears decide to get crazy.  They do every now and then, shucking collars or going off the grid.  In between, I do odd jobs; I have continued the roadkill surveys, I track for Casey (as you might have read in my telemetry blog), I remove leftovers from summer work, and I answer hunter questions.

So, my days are filled, but as the noon’s cool off and the cotton bolls come out, I cannot help but hold my breath for the coming autumn.  We’ve had some legitimately cool days, giving me just a taste of my favorite season.  Fall is coming!

Any good SEC alumni would say that fall is the best season because of football.  It’s icing on the cake, for me, but fall itself is the cake.  The crisp air, the golden colors, the switch in energy of everyone and everything…fall brings with it the death of many leaves, but the new breath of hope, peace, and contentment.
It is difficult to convey with words why autumn feels like a hopeful, new beginning to me.  By all rights, it shouldn’t, really.  Crops are harvested–not planted–leaves begin to die–not begin to live–animals are growing up–not being born–hunting season begins.  Death, or at least the advance of life, happens in the fall.

Maybe that is it:  life continues.  Animals born in the spring have (hopefully) matured enough to be safe from those things that will quickly snuff their lives.  Crops have completed their duty:  grown to their fullest.  Leaves leave their chlorophyllic duties to the next generation.

Accomplishment.  That is what Autumn is.  It is when the world leans back, folds our arms, and says, “whew.”  It is the hope for tomorrow, for the next year of accomplishments, the peace of the previous year, and the contentment of cooler weather and warmer beverages.

But we’re not in autumn yet.  We’re in Indian Summer.  The final stretch of new growth, maturation, hard work, green leaves, and hot days.  I’m keeping my heart on the horizon, but my hands and my eyes in the present, with the work yet left to do.

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