Autumn closes in. The Cuckoos have yet to depart. I remind them they are welcome to winter in the warm climes of Southern Arizona, a hopeless overture, I know ... but I find myself doing this more and more, despite the odds. Inviting the impossible. Alas, to overcome migration instinct is a monumental challenge. Mexico and Central America call them home.
Proof of summer's end is everywhere.
Scarlet zinnias are coated with butterflies in the monsoon garden, so named because I did not plant until July, once the rains had begun. The flowers climax, a waving sea of thick green leaves and orange/red blossoms. A sensual ode to summer's last gasp.
The Bird-of-Paradise, planted with the rains, has grown a foot. The same for the three red pistache trees. The Ocotillas have tossed their tiny leaves to the ground as the still-green mesquites look on and wave, "what's the hurry?"
Grey Hawk's call splits the morning air as Swainson's wing south, Argentina-bound. Dozens of vultures kettle daily toward thermals that will sweep them south. Cicadas sing down the sun as the pond volume falls. I mowed paths to the peninsula tip in one morning's weedwhack frenzy. Dulce and I easily access the point of her new morning swim. Yes, she decided at age four to release the ground beneath her and paddle forth. Faith acknowledged.
Rosa and Noam visit daily. Fledgling-free, their soft love chortles carry on the breeze. They fly high in tandem, race fast-moving cumulus that hint of one more monsoon rain. Querencia Hill has received eighteen inches since July. A desert blessing; a drought respite.
Hail All, autumn's arrival. A friend who summers in the Pacific Northwest texts to ask if I like smoked salmon, as he considers a gift upon his return. Two turkey vultures perch upon fenceposts on the high desert hills. Not a building in sight from where I sit as I faithfully count bird species and check the game camera for nocturnal visitors.
I draft the Equinox invite to my women's circle as grasses turn tawny and the clothesline wash waves in the wind. Let us gather and honor, I write, the energy of equal day and night. Tis time to stand in the equinox portal and consider our personal entry into darkness. Nothing is immune from the cyclic change, the potent energies of death and dissolution. The air is electric with the migration magic. South. Downward. Inwards.
Monsoon's life-giving rains may wane, but not so the earth-shaking thunderstorms. Lightning branches horizonal across dark skies; bolts land so close I lift off the couch. I muttered that was close more than once. Indeed it was. A mesquite smouldered ten feet from the covered porch, a raw split down her trunk; a reminder that as seasonal changes come upon us in waves of transition, the energy of sudden change is part of the autumnal soulscape. Trickster coyote is everywhere.
Death and dissolution clear the way for spirit restoration. I will continue to tempt fate with impossible propositions. I didn't live 71 years to do otherwise. My ephemeral journey is immersed in the seasonal cycles and their authentic assurances. For one short time today, light and dark will call a truce upon the soul.