I am someone who would like to continue celebrating summer. I am very satisfied with the weather and the atmosphere at the end of August, especially this year. It’s cooler at night, the days are still warm enough to comfortably walk outside, and there finally seems to be some rain making an appearance.
I’m not very much of a decorator either. Minimalist at heart, almost every decoration I own, for any season or holiday, was a gift or a gift from someone else. However, growing up, it was also easy to tell what was coming based on my grandmother’s decor. As a child, I went to my grandparents’ house every day after school, and my grandmother was on the other end of the spectrum when it came to decorations. She has an ever-growing stock of decorations for her home and lawn. Each season and each holiday brings a new set of elements that transform the mood of every space in the home.
However, if I look around me, beyond my own desire to spend a little more time with summer, I see that nature is preparing for fall, just like so many people I know. Plants begin to decorate and cooler nights cause animals to think about their fall plans.
Nature has its own way of decorating, and often the decorations that many people make or buy at the store reflect what is happening outside. Colors reflect the evolution of plants and time, and the animals featured on potholders, wall hangings and trinkets tend to follow what’s remarkable or new in nature this season.
Autumn is draped in red, orange and yellow. Apples and pumpkins are ripening, finding their way into both our stomachs and our decorating choices. In October, bats and other nocturnal animals help us decorate for Halloween, even as they prepare for winter.
Winter is often more capricious. Sometimes it’s covered in fluffy, soft whites, other times ice coats every twig and branch. The muddy, muddy gray that blankets the most populated areas in winter is a bit less appealing. White furry and feathered animals appear in snow globes and greenery replaces the colorful hues of fall.
Spring is made of splashes of purple, yellow and pink. Vibrant greens sprout from the ground and appear like plant buds. Baby animals are more prevalent, especially fuzzy ones, and birds sing, build nests, and lay eggs.
Summer means sun, lakes, bees and butterflies. Here, summer also means poison ivy, mosquitoes and all the other buzzing insects. There are fresh fruits and vegetables growing in the garden and aquatic invertebrates bursting in numbers in the ponds.
At the end of August, the seasons change slowly, step by step, from summer to autumn. I look around me and see as many signs of this change in nature as on a store shelf.
As I return home, some trees and shrubs are already starting to change color. Every evening I hear more and more flocks of geese flying overhead and watching them land in Chautauqua Lake. They also congregate in greater numbers along waterways. The nights become noticeably cooler, although the days remain warm. Apples on the apple tree next to the Nature Center have red streaks, and squirrels and chipmunks are beginning to collect food to prepare for the colder months ahead.
However, even with all of this, bees and butterflies are still active, drinking nectar and moving pollen. Mosquitoes and flies are definitely here a little longer and there will always be yellows, purples and pinks even in the fall. Nothing changes overnight, but the transitions can be just as interesting. Every day becomes a little different.
When I really think about it, I find that I’ve somewhat reluctantly come to terms with the fact that Halloween and fall decorations have made their way onto store shelves. Personally, I’ll hold off on summer a little longer, but I’m content to let nature lead the way and just follow.
Audubon Community Nature Center builds and nurtures connections between people and nature. ACNC is located just east of Route 62 between Warren and Jamestown. The trails are open from dawn to dusk, as are Liberty, Bald Eagles, and other birds of prey. The Center de la nature is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day except Sunday when it opens at 1 p.m. More information can be found online at auduboncnc.org or by calling (716) 569-2345.