The weather here in the Midwest is usually pretty much "seasonal," varying only enough from the norm to make for conversation. And this past summer was no exception. First we heard the complaint, "We didn't really have a spring. It finally went right from winter into summer." In quite a few places the crops got planted later than usual. Or at least later than the farmers would have preferred. Some areas had enough rain while others went dry. But that is usually the case. It's been a few years since I last heard that old tale about the rain showers that were really scattered and spotty. One old farmer had been shooting at crows in his cornfield when a rain came up and he took off for the house, leaving his old double barrel shotgun sitting in the fence corner. After the rain, one of the gun's barrels was half full of water. The inside of the other was bone dry.
Most of this year's crops seem to have made good progress despite the fact that we did not have the normal amount of heat. There were a few days with high temperatures and a lot of humidity, but most of the time temperatures were quite comfortable. Or "liveable" as some folks say. A lot of late summer days felt more like those we expect in early autumn.
We are blessed with some of the country's prettiest scenery here in the Driftless Area. And with four distinct, beautiful seasons to dress up the countryside and show it off to its best advantage. Of the four, it seems that summer is the favorite of most people. It is not uncommon for some folks to spend a good share of the other three seasons just anticipating and preparing for the hot weather time with its growing and ripening gardens and farm crops, also the swimming, boating, biking, ball playing, hiking, vacationing and all the other activities that go to make up a summer.
After the Fourth of July, pessimists begin to lament the fact that summer is half over and "on the downhill swing." We optimists prefer to try to hang on to whatever we have left of the great and gorgeous season, at least until school starts. And then we start looking forward to a bright and beautiful fall. Autumn is a glorious season and just the sugar coating required to make the bitter cold pill of winter a bit easier to swallow.
Between life and growth of summer
And dead winter's icy pall
Stands the glory season, autumn,
Brightly colored, gaudy fall.
Goldenrod, profusely gilded,
A wild beauty to behold,
Combine rumbles through the cornfield
Spewing stream of molten gold.
Stand of birch trees on the hilltop,
All decked out in golden tone
Brighten up early October...
Almost shed light of their own.
River bluff aglow with maples,
Yellow, orange-gold and red,
Quaking aspen make a brightly-
Hued umbrella overhead
And the deep red ivy bravely
Hangs on to defy the frost
While dark green pines, draped in sadness
Mourn another summer lost.
Walnuts wait there for the taking
And the butternuts are free.
Watch the squirrel reap his harvest
'Neath the shagbark hickory tree.
Spear of geese starts heading southward,
Seeking out a warmer clime,
Autumn – brief gold splash of glory –
Harbinger of wintertime.