September begins, marking, at least in the mind, the frontier between boundless summer days and the quick advance of winter whose chilly emissaries have been flirting with the mountaintops for several weeks. The frost-teasing temperatures have russeted the recently bright-green foliage on the mountain’s meadows across the lake and fingers of gold are now working their way through the drainages on her slopes. The season is demanding extra effort from the aficionado of blueberries and other piedmont delights who now must lower their standards slightly or hunt longer among barren plants, or those whose fruit has developed frost-induced dimples. Recently the afternoons have brought dark clouds, which roll over the mountains from the north, creeping into the ravines, looking down upon the riot of color on the moraines and banks of the lake with chilly intention as they brood over the short time, maybe only a few weeks, until the reds and oranges and yellows, the festive banner of autumn’s glory will be snuffed out under a blanket of white.
Although rain still falls almost every day it is generally light and short lived. The lake is returning to a seasonable level after having swollen to the bushes in mid-August. The small stream by the cabin is still flowing generously but has slowed from the noisy deluge a few weeks prior; the water has revealed the small improvements—the stepping stone and reinforcements—which had been completely covered. Several new trickles of water have appeared along the beach to the west draining the flooded meadows, and the trail behind the cabin has given up its ambition to become a stream, returning to its more humble but utilitarian existence as a path to the moraine.
Deep, dark night, the kind in which you are unsure if you’ve really opened your eyes, now awaits those who wake after midnight to the sound of a whining or chewing porcupine. The effort is simply too great to brave the blackness in order to chase the prickly, little visitor away. After all, how sure are you that that is a porcupine making all that noise in the night?