In our own lives, each of us have events that occur annually. Often they are “official” days like birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc. Other events are times that mark the change of the seasons. On Tuesday we had one of those change of the season days on the Gunflint Trail.
It was the day of the first howling wind. All morning long the wind simply howled outside my office window. It was a wonderful feeling to be inside and to hear that wind. So often we spend our days in buildings that don’t allow the natural sounds to enter. Up here I can enjoy them.
During the summer months, our windows are open especially at night. I can regularly hear the loons and owls call during the night. For some time this summer I heard a call that sounded like the backup horn on a truck. Another neighbor asked about that sound. Finally I asked a real birder who told me it was the call of the saw-whet owl. Learn something new every day.
On our canoe trip I laid in my sleeping bag listening to the night sounds. The loons were there. The chipmunks and squirrels were also there. From the inside of a tent they make enough noise to be a bear.
Anyway, back to Tuesday and the howling winds. That afternoon Eva and I went to town with Dog Tucker and Cat Diva for their annual physicals and shots. The wind had blown trees down along the Trail. The county trucks were busily cutting them and keeping the road open. Every fall when we have the first really windy day, trees come down all over. These must be the ones that have rotted just enough during the preceding summer to now be vulnerable to strong winds. We tried to count how many were down but then we would get to talking and miss a few. Let’s just say that there were lots of trees down of all sizes.
That day was also the first time the local forecast had a frost warning. With the garden we pay attention to early frost warnings. Traditionally they can come any time after Labor Day. Usually I could care less about the weather but frost takes out my basil in a minute. So I harvested all the basil before going to town. When we got home, Eva and I spent a little time getting in tomatoes. Then it was parsley, summer squash and zucchini. Naturally because I was prepared, we didn’t get the frost.
Tuesday night was a raw windy night. It was time for our first fire in the fireplace for this fall. That may not sound like much to you but Bruce and I really look forward to it. Before building this house, we hemmed and hawed about wood vs. gas fireplaces and finally decided we were wood people. Gas just doesn't cut it with someone who was raised with a wood fire all his life.
I know the wood makes a mess on the carpet with all its dirt and tiny chips. In the winter going out to fill the wood box is a project. Keeping a good supply of firewood is also a project, but one that we both enjoy. You know the old saying about wood fires – they warm you twice. Once when you gather the wood and once when you burn the wood. For us, the sounds, smells, and sights of an actual wood fire cannot be beat.
So Tuesday was one of the days we mark our calendar by. It was the first howling wind, the first frost warning, and the first fire in the fireplace. Fall is truly here. Winter is coming and summer has passed for this year.