Just a bit ago I heard the male cardinal call out for his mate.
He sings so sweetly to her. His red coat shines in the sunlight. How can she resist him? She comes flying in to perch beside him.
I raise my camera, but suddenly they’re both gone in a whoosh of wings. Their chemistry has cued them to move as one.
As I stand there, I note that there is a subtle difference in the air. It is barely perceptible. But I have seen many seasons in my life, and I know it well.
It is the quiet footsteps of fall, coming across the horizon. Allowing summer to have its last hurrah. It’s final colorful dance.
Then it will come on stage as summer moves out of the limelight. Resplendent in its gold and brown and orange costume of leaves that chases away the green grass and tells it to stop growing.
The sun is posed a little differently in the sky. The light is pausing in a spot in the trees at a different time.
It is the way the seasons change, just a bit at a time. Until the change has been made. And we realize that we barely noticed the shift.
Because that is how it is meant to be.
And suddenly a mourning dove comes flapping in to perch atop the fence. Its eyes are rimmed in a color reminiscent of turquoise that surrounds the black iris.
It sits quietly. The mourning dove is usually more patient than the other birds. It blinks at me. It allows my camera to catch its beauty.
I spot the squirrel before Charlie does this time. It sits just a foot or so down from the mourning dove, companions that do not seem to mind one another.
Yes, there is a distinct pause in the day now before the heat becomes stifling.
The nights are a bit cooler. Even chilly.
I go to sleep after hours of reading, curled within the sheets and quilt, grateful for the warmth. The pupsters sprawl out in their own individual way, snoring and snuffling softly.
Fall is indeed approaching. Its footsteps echo all the seasons before it.
We will not hear it coming down the path. But the rustling of leaves as they begin to fall will be the sound we hear just after its discreet and subtle entrance.
And I will be out here on the patio waiting for it, camera in hand.