It’s customary to declare summer in the United States over after Labor Day. Other people look at the Autumnal Equinox as the end of summer as well they may since it really is the beginning of astronomical fall and the point at which the nights become longer than the days. Some more practical folks just call it over when the kids go back to school. Of course, during the COVID panic there is no school so that’s sort of irrelevant.
Here at the compound we have a more poignant measure. Summer is over when the hummingbirds leave. They left yesterday. Camera Girl is sad. She told me I should memorialize this event with a post about the end of summer. As the ever-solicitous husband, her wish was my command so, here I am prattling on.
It is funny though how exactly these birds seem to define the end of summer in this exact locale. Already, even on a day that reaches eighty degrees, the air is different. Drier and lighter. And the late afternoon is cooler and breezier. And now by seven p.m. the sun is gone and only twilight remains. The leaves are coming down at a decent clip. These leaves are yellow and must be coming from some of the species that lose them early, the cherry and the birch. But it’s the start. Next the maples will start turning. The oaks will hold out the longest, well into October. But it’s the start. And because the leaves were starting to fall Camera Girl, who is, like most women, a practical creature had the pool company close the pool down and put on the cover this week. Maybe that’s what tipped off the hummingbirds.
And Camera Girl informs me that the birds that haven’t left yet go to bed earlier now. By dinner time they’re gone. So, all in all, the whole natural world around me has conceded the end of summer 2020. But not me. I rail against it. Oh, soon enough I’ll shift my attention to fall foliage photography and then onto reviews of horror movies for Halloween. But not yet. I still haven’t seen a preying mantis this year. I haven’t gotten a picture of a heron on the pond or a painted turtle in the pond. I still want to try the 600mm lens with a hawk in flight. So, though I promised Camera Girl to declare and mourn the end of summer I will use this last full week of official summer to hunt my last summer targets.