Full Moon Rising

Full Moon Rising
Silent Cove. Chance Harbour NB - My back yard.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Making Sense Of The Seasons

Well tonight I had the urge. The urge to write. What to write though was the problem. I have so many ideas and stories that it felt as if my ideas were all jumping beans ricocheting off the inside of my head, all very manic and all vying for first place. I was beginning to develop a headache when my husband suggested we step out onto the deck to get some air.

 The sun had long set and it was so far a moonless sky giving every shadow a life of its own. As I leaned into the deck railing I inhaled deeply the heady scent of Mother Nature. The smell of fall. The coolness of the night air seems to heighten all the smells, making them sharper and more pungent. The strongest scent is the earth, it's the first thing that hits you. It smells warm and whole. It smells of life. Then ,from the trees and the foliage a sweet scent seems to emanate the air, complimenting the scent of the earth. These scents are then crowned with the smell of the salt air. Where you can actually smell the water itself from the bay and you can actually feel the coolness of it enter you. You feel it hit the back of your throat and slide down your diaphragm and you feel it spreading through you like it has another life force all its own. The coolness revives something in you. It gives you a feeling of clarity. It gives you a renewed sense of energy that you thought was long spent hours before. And shadowing all of that is the tang from the salt and the life that the ocean harbours. The smells of seaweed and shellfish grab ones notice. You can actually smell the mussels. It is now that I think that if the soul could smile, this would be it.

Where the evening temperature has been slowly getting cooler as the days of summer are now truly leaving us, the evening sounds are quieting as well. The soft soothing song of the crickets is all but gone, the silence almost palatable by their absence, how I miss them already. One can still catch the chirping of the bats and the swooping sounds of their wings as they dive through the night air hunting for food.  Their flight seems slower, softer somehow and their feeding seems to have taken on a sense of calmness , no longer a frenzied rush. The peepers no longer sing to greet the the night, although the hooting of the owls still float through the night air, their presence holds strong and true.

Where Mother Nature forever seeks balance, just as water seeks it's own level and for all the night creatures that leave us for warmer nights elsewhere, she brings other newer choruses to fill the night, like the Loons. I listen to them calling across the cove to each other. They send out an echo which floats across the air in search of their mate. And when they come together the long mournful cry that drew them to each other is now followed by a rapid succession of shorter calls. You can hear their excitement at finding each other! If only we humans reacted in same when we find each other.

Some other not so beautiful sounds fill the night air as well. Those of the seals. While one would never describe the call of the seals anywhere near a beautiful sound, it certainly still demands just as much notice. Their grunts, growls and snorts sound almost alien but, I suppose to them it is the call of love.

Speaking of love, the cool fall nights seems to stir something deep and primal in nature. It's nature's season of love. Yes love. It is in the night air for all the moose, deer, bear, raccoons etc. They become driven to seek, catch and conquer, all in their need to reproduce. They all have their own rituals for attracting a mate. It appears to be a very visual thing. I actually had the honour of watching two moose through part of this ritual called mating. While leaning on my elbows to steady the binoculars I held up tightly against my eyes, I found I was holding my breath. These two huge, massive creatures displayed a puppy like playfulness between them. As I watched, the Sir of the two actually leaned his head down and pounced  back and forth, his huge hooves stirring up dust all around himself, turning around in circles then dropping to the ground, he rolled onto his back with all four legs straight up in the air and squiggled his back against the ground beneath him. What was she doing? Well she was just standing there looking down at him through the cloud of dust, I think she yawned then slowly turned her large frame away, his head slowly turning with her as he watched her begin to walk away. He quickly sent up another cloud of dust as he scrambled to his feet and caught up with her. He trotted along side her, his head turned , looking at her, while she seemingly appeared to be not interested. They trotted side by side up the path and disappeared into the forest.

I think he eventually won her over because about a month later around 9:55 one evening I was racing along the shoreline of the Kennebacasis River on the Kingston Peninsula in a huge hurry to catch the Ferry back to the mainland.
With no streetlights in the area it was indeed a dark night. When I noticed how dark it was,something in my gut said to slow down. My speedometer went from 90 to 25 and this is one time in my life that I'm happy to say I listened to my gut. It wasn't even 30 seconds later that off to my right some flash of movement caught my eye. My foot came down softly on the brake pedal. And there they were. Just beyond the reach of my headlights, emerging from the woods,one behind the other, two massive Moose. One male walking tall and very strong and a full set of antlers. He looked almost scraggly with signs of a new winter coat.  And she looked large and healthy. Her winter coat looked full, lush and long. I could see flashes of white from her underbelly.
I slowed the car to a stop as they approached the road. They looked in my direction. They knew I was there. Tentatively they started across the road, very slowly I might add. Watching these two large beasts  pass by the front of my car was a moment in itself. The furthest thing from my mind in those moments was catching the Ferry. I know my heart stopped and  my breathing stopped until the ringing in my ears brought me around again. I watched them as they disappeared out of my headlights then proceed to trot up someones driveway.
 I never did miss the Ferry, as it turned out it was running 5 minutes late. In truth I wouldn't of cared if I had. What I experienced, there are no words to describe. I won't ever know if this mated pair were the same two I'd seen just a short time ago frolicking in the fields or not. I'd like to think so.

Where even nature has it's time for harshness and sometimes cruelty and violence seem to prevail, all in the name of survival until a period of regeneration begins and nature starts to shift the animalistic instinct that is in all of us, animal and human alike. A transition starts where we begin to need each other. To come together in union if even only for a few short moments in some cases, and in others they mate for life.

As our fall season deepens we begin to give up the fight and submit to the shorter days and resign ourselves to the longer nights. We prepare and begin to preserve our energy for the harshness of  the winter yet to come. We take stock and work with what we have. Like the busy squirrel collecting his seeds and nuts for winter storage we too have our harvest time. We store the shorts, tees and sneakers and dust off the sweaters, hats and gloves. The pool rake is replaced with the leaf rake. The garden hoe is put to the back of the garden shed and the snow shovel is brought forward and takes it place. We turn our house lights up 3 hours earlier than we did just a few short weeks ago. Windows are tightly shut at night, storm windows firmly locked in place. Extra blankets on the beds, linen sheets replaced by the flannel ones.

We awake each morning and start our days in darkness and end them in darkness. For most people we continue to think we can still bounce through each day as if it were still summer. In our neck of the woods our daylight hours extend about 17 hours at their longest during the height of summer, and during the winter months that is reduced to 8 hours. That is a huge adjusment for us to make. Out of habit we think we can continue with our busy bee activities without skipping a beat. Eventually though, like a stubborn child wanting it's own way, Mother Nature gently pushes us indoors. She impresses us to slow down, to rest. She knows what is best for us. In the beginning we tend to try to push away from her safe and warm embrace against winter. As in the confines and comfort of our homes we become tired of the struggle to stretch out the days and begin to submit to the slower days, the longer nights. Before we know it there is a change in mindset. We look forward to being inside. We look forward to the end of the day when we can close our doors to the cold world outside and snuggle up with our families and loved ones and enjoy spending more time together. In a perfect world anyways. If you aren't crazy about being locked up indoors for six months with people you minimally get along with well, maybe take up a hobby. We are in Canada and with all the ice maybe hockey would be a good place to start, or go out into the yard and build an igloo.....or two. Hey..it gets you outside!

For myself one thing that will not change with the seasons is the Bay of Fundy. It's tides remain strong and constant. It will continue to roll in and out every 12 hours just as the sun rises and sets each day. With Mother Nature she too has her stubborn ways and refuses to budge on some things. Such as tides and sunsets, and this......is a good thing.

Until the next high tide..........


Special thanks to Mother Nature herself for todays inspiration. May she continue to guide us through all the seasons for years to come.