Friday Firesmith – As Summer Dies

I’ve got the back door open, and a window in my bedroom letting in the cool air upon this writing. The temps will be up in the 90’s today, scorching hot once again, but the length of the days is shortening now, the day and night are even on this very day, and heat is not ruling the land as it did just a couple of weeks ago. 

The garden is the surest sign of the decline, with the explosion of color of flowers and blooms, the fruit ripening in the sun, and the expectations of fresh food replaced with slowly dying plants, and flowers who have clearly seen their best days last month. There are fewer wasps on their nests now, and soon they will become homeless drifters, bereft of their need to defend their homes made of cells. They will swarm in benign groups, seeking out strangers to spend their last days with, and one cold night they will be killed. 

All of this is subtle, as the vines and autumn plants return, life is leaving for the most part, being replaced by the temporary residents, and even here in the Deep South, there are more and more leaves on the ground, even as Summer refuses eviction. 

A gray squirrel is harvesting acorns in a limb over the metal roof. Like plant based hail, the oak fruit play a discordant song against the steel, calling the dogs to chorus. The tree rat is indifferent to the barking of tame wolves, as his kind will ever be. The Big Oak in the back of the property will feed squirrels, deer, all manner of small mammals, as it has done of hundreds of years. I may try to sprout some of her fruit, and plant more live oaks out here. What better way to honor such a giant, than to ensure her generations? I would have to clear out the lesser beings, the water oaks and the bramble, create space for the saplings and guard them while they were young. Perhaps, if I am exceptionally lucky, I could tend them for twenty years, likely less, before I must leave. Then, like the giant on my property, fate would take over, and perhaps be kind to one or two of them.

It is an odd farmer, who plants without hope of seeing the fruit of his labor, nor would a generation of humans, and perhaps three or four generations removed, would see the trees here and wonder how such things came to be? Yet I would be long gone, remembered by none, except the trees.

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

7 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – As Summer Dies”

  1. Yes it was strong willed, every living thing and some not alive like pavement, buckled to summer’s will.
    Suddenly, and I’m sure smugly, it’s gone. Traffic to the pumpkin & Apple Cider farm up the road is crazy.
    42° (F and proud of it) last night, 68° forecast today, I don’t remember the equinox being de-hibernate the boiler time.

  2. “A gray squirrel is harvesting acorns in a limb over the metal roof. Like plant based hail, the oak fruit play a discordant song against the steel, calling the dogs to chorus” – I really like the creativeness of this sentence yet still lets the reader know what is happening. And empathizing if the reader has experience with metal roofs and dogs.

    Your story about whether to plant more oaks reminds me of this toast: May your coffin be made of 100-year-old oak trees that are planted tomorrow.

    I really liked that toast. And the waiter who told us that was probably the best one I have ever had. His restaurant management knew how good he was–he was promoted to corporate to train waiters and waitresses.

    • Tim, I cannot imagine the effort it will take to start getting a live oak forest back into existence, but I do know planting one tree is a start. Thanks for the positive vibes in describing the squirrel. They’re a pain in the butt sometimes, but always adorable, and always the perfect prey for dogs who will never catch them.

  3. I think it is a wise and generous man who plants knowing he may never see the fruits of his labor. It goes back to that seven generations thing I wrote of that the Native Americans believe in. I can totally respect that.

    • I think we are a short sighed people, Chick, who will not plant, knowing we will never see the fruits of our labors. I think we ought to do more things like this, knowing one hundred years from now, it will make a difference.

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