“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” — Albert Camus

Last week, I mentioned to a friend that before we knew it leaves would be turning color and summer would be coming to an end.

Then, I occasioned to drive to Reed City and, lo and behold, there were a couple trees in full color change. Nay! A bunch of trees.

A couple days later, during a drive up 80th Avenue north, there wre trees all over the place already putting on their “autumn glory.”

“Glory” for them — the trees. Mildly depressing for me.

Look. I got a lot done this summer. A LOT.

But ... I have yet had that glorious summer afternoon of just sitting, reading a little bit, and snoozing the afternoon away as a summer breeze wafts across the yard.

I got a lot done, but I have yet had the opportunity to do nothing. And now, the leaves are changing color.

Sigh.

I’m sorry, Gentle Reader, but all the signs are there. In absolutely no time at all, the trees around us will be shedding their delicate clothing and giving way to winter blasts.

Yes. I said it. Winter ... is coming.

I realize lots of people wait with bated breath for autumn’s artisitic sweep of natural color. It is beautiful. I too enjoy the absolute cacophony of color.

I enjoy autumn’s art.

My Dearly Beloved once pointed out that if we had ever painted a picture with such an explosion of color as we used to see and enjoy along the river, folks would say we were exaggerating.

Still, despite my love of the coming season, I also am fully aware of the fact that this wonderful time of year is fleeting ... at best.

The leaves are so beautiful. Then they drop. Then it snows.

That’s the way it works.

“Fall colors are funny,” noted author Siobhan Vivian, in her book Same Difference. “They’re so bright and intense and beautiful. It’s like nature is trying to fill you up with color, to saturate you so you can stockpile it before winter turns everything muted and dreary.”

Now, I know it is early to be so pensive and bleak about the end of summer, but the facts are the facts. The signs pointing to the end of summer are all around us.

I guess what really needs to be done is to stop planning what next to do in the garden; stop aiming at getting one more garden bed prepared; stop weeding and hoeing; stop the whole maintenance thing; and just start sitting back and enjoying what is left of the summer and early fall.

I’m sure we will still have a good share of steamy days. I’m sure there will still be plenty of time to sit under the maple tree and listen to the crickets as I doze off.

There is still time.

But, Labor Day is less than three weeks off, and then things “officially” change — leaf color change or not.

It is time, Gentle Reader, to prepare for the inevitable.

Summer is packing it’s bags, and autumn is at the gate.

Sorry.

A Fall Song

— By Ellen Robena Field

Golden and red trees

Nod to the soft breeze,

As it whispers, “Winter is near;”

And the brown nuts fall

At the wind’s loud call,

For this is the Fall of the year.

Good-by, sweet flowers!

Through bright Summer hours

You have filled our hearts with cheer

We shall miss you so,

And yet you must go,

For this is the Fall of the year.

Now the days grow cold,

As the year grows old,

And the meadows are brown and sere;

Brave robin redbreast

Has gone from his nest,

For this is the Fall of the year.

I do softly pray

At the close of day,

That the little children, so dear,

May as purely grow

As the fleecy snow

That follows the Fall of the year.

Not yet. But soon.

Way too soon.