Summer is definitely ending here. It's not quite fall yet, but you can tell it's coming. I am struck lately by how much August in Ballinrobe reminds me of August in Fairbanks, Alaska. There's that same nip in the morning air and looking at how the plants are changing the landscape and changing in the landscape reminds me a great deal of my 9 years in Fairbanks. I am delighted. Ever since we left Alaska 10 years ago, I have missed it most during August, September, and October. I liked the transition from summer to autumn that took place during those months. When August began, it was the tail end of summer. The fireweed was blooming near the top and white puffy seed balls would blow around in the air. By September, there was definitely a nip in the air and we could expect one day with brilliant blue skies that served as a background to golden yellow birch and aspen leaves. Look down and the forest floor was a bright red. There would have been a frost. We'd go out and pick low bush cranberries (lingonberries). By October, we were waiting for snow and by Halloween, winter was upon us with temperatures well below zero.
I do not expect the similarities between here and Alaska to hold much beyond August. It will not get very cold here and may well not feel like a real winter at all. That's OK. It will be cool enough. What makes me so happy about this August is the same thing that I missed so much when I left Alaska--this season in-between. It was a surprise to me, this similarity to what I have missed so much, but it's been a very happy one. In the places I have lived since we left Alaska, hot weather would just go on and on and on. I would grumble my way through October with the windows open, wondering when it would feel like fall. I would tell Bill that my body was still on Alaska Seasonal Time. Now I can be on Ireland Seasonal Time :-) It's still too hot when the sun beats down, but we have both felt chilly when we go out walking and the sun was behind the clouds. Mornings are nippy. The plants are starting to look a bit ragged in some cases, but in others, they are simply different. I have started to notice and appreciate the structure of plants that are no longer flowering in the same way I have always liked looking at trees without their leaves. They are quite beautiful in their own way.