The beginnings of Fall have long since passed by time but only in the last week have the temperatures started to drop. It has been a warm season that makes one believe that the cold will be delayed indefinitely. There is a seasonal constant, however, that does not waver in its reminder that Winter is soon at hand, and that is the light.
It is easy to forget the changing altitude of the sun as we take it for granted in the summer sunning ourselves and seeking shade in the hot months of July and August. But as our home sits on a north-facing slope, by late September the sun has dropped to such a degree that the back yard gets direct light for only a few hours each day early in the morning. And now we are lucky to get 30 minutes of sun as it emerges from behind our neighbor’s house and then hides quickly from us behind her trees.
The lack of light keeps everything moist. The back yard never dries off glistening with the dew of the morning. This creates a home for the many mushrooms that choose to emerge after a early Fall rain, which occurred a few weeks back. We were missing the mushrooms as September was unusually dry, but after a few deluges the mushrooms have popped up as would curious tourists who will stay but for a short time. Fat squat ones indiscriminately spraying their spores about sit next to tiny cups arranged in neat fairy circles.
Most of the trees are still hanging onto their leaves, though the maples, apples and ash have yet to turn. The forsythia, viburnum, witch hazel, spirea and other bushes started their turn a few weeks back. When the trees shed their leaves, does the light return to the back yard. And with that the cold starts to settle in.