Over the past few days I have been trying valiantly but with ever decreasing success to ignore the signs of an early winter fast approaching. Unfortunately all the signs are there that our wonderful warm summer is going to end far faster than we are used to, more quickly than we are prepared for. Unbelieveably the last of our previous winter's snow melt in Western Canada only completed its descent from the mountains less than 6 weeks ago and now we see signs of this year's winter season all ready encroaching.
In the past few weeks we have seen fewer birds than we see in the spring and autumn. This is quite normal as they have been in the northern part of the province enjoying nesting, birthing their hatchlings and eating summer treats. They don't pass this way again until the fall........and they arrived this week: red breasted nuthatches, finches of all kinds and even two young woodpeckers, barely travel worthy, have arrived at our feeders and waterer in the past two days. The yard is swarming with birds we are not supposed to see for weeks yet. Ducks and geese are all ready practising winter flying formations even though their young are barely out on their own as yet. This is frightening stuff; it is happening at least a month too early for our comfort.
The leaves on some of the trees are turning yellow......during a hot summer that can simply mean they are too dry, but this summer they have had plenty of rain to keep them watered in between the bouts of hot weather. The taller prairie grasses and some of the weeds are turning an autumnal light green leading to yellow all ready.
Last night the outside temperatures dropped into the single digits, with reports of 0 degrees in the southern portions of our province....light frost has touched a few of the crops, although there was no damage.
The last straw today was the discovery, while vaccuming and washing floors, of a number of young spiders who have infiltrated the laundry room and kitchen. The house is filling up with the autumn population of various types and sizes of arachnids that drive me crazy and give me the shivers every time I lay eyes on their little round, 8 legged, quickly skittering bodies. The larger spiders in particular have given me pause as they never enter the house until preparation for the winter season begins.
This afternoon I took a phone call from Vancouver Island where the temperatures this week have been hovering in the low +30's and the anguished voice on the other end of the phone line informed me that there are wintering spiders making their way into the residence of the caller......spiders who do not make their way in until the first signs of fall are on the way. Oh, and why would the birds there be practising winter flying formations all ready?? O no........not there too!!!
Guess it is going to be an early winter this year......mentally I am starting to prepare myself for the sheets of ice that will decorate our streets and sidwalks once again for who knows how many months. For someone recovering still from a broken ankle sustained on last winter's ice fall it is a terrifying prospect and now apparently going to be an earlier (therefore longer) one than expected.
"The thing which I most greatly fear has come upon me." Thank you Job for that succinct expression of stark terror......