I got up the other morning,

stepped out on the deck just in time to see a pair of swans glide onto the beaver pond below. Wings wide, alighting on the surface with barely a ripple, with one young one coming in high and behind – not quite pure white as its parents. Not quite sure, coming in high and fast, splashing down in front of the parents, still working on the finer points of flight. Another month or so the three of them will head south somewhere warmer. There may be ice and snow on the pond before they leave. They’ll huddle against the wind and winter. They won’t leave until the young one can go with, flying and gliding with wings spread wide. Land smooth and take off beating the surface for some yards and be in the air. Bugling proud!

They look good when they arrive. We know they’re going to leave. Every spring, they say, the same pair return to the same water. And they do. You hear them bugle their arrival. They come in from the same direction over one of the hills, glide their wide circle over the pond and put down on a piece of water, surrounded as it is by ice and snow. And bugle, “We’re back. This is our pond!” Other swans and geese come in and are chased off as soon as they land. The pair spends its first month or so on a creek coming into the pond with the only open water. Eventually, the snow and ice melt leaving floating islands for their nest. If last year’s nest is still there they mend it, but most years it’s not there and they build new. Always private, hidden. Swans build a huge nest, maybe four feet across, sitting high on their island.

Then they make babies and float around all summer showing off the family, chasing off other swans and geese and my canoe. They buzz low, bugle and convince me to fish elsewhere. Some of the babies disappear over the summer and when it’s time to leave, four or five baby swans changes to one or two. I figure otters, eagles, snapping turtles, so forth, got to live, too. Today, one is leaving with its parents when it gets its wings right.

So the swans want to leave and the leaves are going prime time. Red oaks are mostly red, white oaks rusty brown, both red and white loaded with acorns. Some maples red, some golden yellow. Popples’ yellow leaves blend with the birch. Impressive 6 inch-wide rust colored basswood leaves lay on a walking trail. “Wow, look at this!” Carry it for a while. “That’s a nice leaf!” Yes it is.

Summer’s gone, fall’s going soon, the Hunter’s Moon is full and it’s a good day. Not sad to see summer go, not sad to see fall go. Happy to see winter come. White snow, deep snow, cold air, wood burning, spring sapping gets nearer every day!

Some poet said, “Everything that goes away comes back another day.” Oofda, say that again! “Never mind the details.” Enjoy!

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