The days are still golden and the squirrels continue to warm themselves in the sun, as they lie about on any handy tree limb or fence rail. But, as you look closer, the sure signs of a change in season are all around you.
The hummingbird feeders are quiet now. Just a few days ago, a constant whirring sound could be heard as each one sought to protect his or her treasure trove of nectar. All summer these wonderful little creatures performed endless aerial ballets from flower, to feeder, to their tiny nests tucked away in a nearby tree.
They are gone now, winging their way to Central America for the winter. The hummingbirds will make another long dangerous journey next spring, when many of them will return to the same feeders they used last summer.
Delicate flowers that have been carefully tended for many months are beginning to look faded and spent. The proverbial last rose of summer is just now blooming.
Wild tom turkeys and hens are coming back together again, now that the chicks are plump and thriving and well on their way.
Turkeys can fly when necessary, but they prefer to run when startled. If they must take flight, they are not as graceful as other birds, and they make a tremendous racket as they land on the branches of the trees.
Next spring the toms will show all the grace of a beautiful sleek swan, when they strut and display all of their gorgeous iridescent feathers. As the toms compete with one another, they will appear to float over the ground as they court the hens.
Then is when you realize why Ben Franklin thought the wild turkey should be our national bird.
The whitetail fawns no longer have their spots. While the does and the bucks have changed their coats from a soft sable tan to a dull gray brown, that will blend in perfectly with the trees in the forest all winter long.
The bucks are still in a bachelor group, but they have almost completely rubbed the velvet from their antlers, and there is an occasional sparring match. They will begin to strike out on their own in a few days for the mating season.
Canada geese will soon fill the sky as they begin to move about now that this year's goslings are big enough to travel. They will frequently stop off here on their way to the open waters of the Mississippi River close by.
Any morning now, we will awaken to an early frost that will be quickly chased away by the first rays of sunlight. That will be the cue for the autumn leaves to begin their brilliant display of red and gold leaves.
All around us there are wonders and beauty waiting for us to take notice. Fleeting moments of nature that can lift our spirits and lighten our burdens.
A simple bird feeder near a window can offer so much joy. The amazement of watching such a small living thing. The excitement of seeing a new bird nibbling away. The feelings that you get by tending to God's little creatures, especially after the snow blankets their other sources of food.
If you are so inclined, one feeder will lead to two as you discover the favorite seeds and berries of the birds that live near you.
From these small beginnings you will begin to feel a part of nature, and before long you will notice that as you watch the antics of the birds, your own heart and soul will be revived.