The Last Windrow: If you look, the signs are all right there in front of us

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Signs of things to come.

No, I'm not talking about the election, the coronavirus or any other negative subject.

I'm talking about the signs that the fall season is about to descend on the northern countryside. The signs are out there if you care to take a look.

I ventured to our award-winning garden a couple of mornings ago and on my way I was stopped in my tracks by a large, green, spotted leopard frog. The frog popped out of some dewy grass and sat squarely in front of my size 13 boots, almost daring me to squash it. The frog didn't know that my reflexes have dulled a bit over the years and it was in more danger than it thought. And I wouldn't have wanted to end its life in such a worthless gesture.

Instead, I hurried the frog on its way from the meadowland where it had been residing over the past summer toward the pond where it would spend the upcoming winter season.


That frog was a sign of fall.

After picking a few ears of sun-ripened sweet corn, I carried the yellow ears to our house. On the way I passed a laneway behind the house that leads to the deep woods. In the laneway I was surprised to see a flock of I'd guess were a hundred robins. They covered the entire laneway for 100 yards and were busy picking at the soil I'd turned up the previous day while pulling our brush cutter along the lane.

I could only think that these were robins from north of the Canadian border. Evidently they didn't have any trouble crossing the border and didn't require a passport. But there they were on their bobbin' way to warmer climes.

The robins were a sign of fall.

On my way to attend my early morning coffee klatch with the gents beside the river that flows through our town, I noticed green acorn shells that had dropped to earth, no doubt detached by some high climbing squirrel. Oak acorns seem to somehow sneak up on me. One day they are not there and the next they are.

With the news that black bears are especially hungry this year because of a sad berry crop, I hoped that these acorns were a sign that more would fall in the path of a wandering bruin and put it into a deep sleep when the snow hits the ground.

Those green acorn caps are a sign that fall is around the corner.

I purred my way up our forest path atop our riding lawn mower two weeks ago. I call it my fake four-wheeler. I figured if George Jones could make it to the liquor store on his lawn mower, I could use the same machine in place of an ATV. Some might scoff at that, but not me.


That being said, as I turned the corner on a patch of Norway pines, a large buck sprang from the tall grass. The deer sported a fine set of antlers counting eight points. The antlers were still cloaked in velvet, but I could see some of the velvet hung in tatters. No doubt the deer had been rubbing against a sapling, getting its gear ready for November.

The deer was a sign of fall.

All around us these days are the signs. The walleyes are working into deeper water this time of year. The young geese and ducks are trying their wings. Cicadas are singing in the treetops. Beavers are hauling branches to their lodges. The Central American birds have left or are in the process of winging their way south. I heard the hawks are starting to migrate over Lake Superior. The tall crowsfoot grass is turning purple in the fields and along the byways. Purple asters are springing up along the footpaths.

All are signs of fall.

And, if you haven't noticed, the sun is not shining at 4 a.m. anymore and you are starting to use your headlights on the way to work in the morning.

After all the turmoil, strife and misery we've faced in this year of 2020, I find it refreshing that we can actually count on something historically normal happening. I know I can believe the seasons. It is comforting and reassuring for me to know that the world continues to spin no matter how we sometimes think we control our collective fates.

Hang in there, fall is coming.

See you next time. Okay? Stay safe!


John Wetrosky - Last Windrow.jpg

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