One morning, a crow calls, staccato and sudden, seemingly breaking their silence since early summer all in a flurry of outcry and warning. Summer is ending!
Another morning and there is a surprising dew, every blade of grass is bejewelled, reflecting light and image, a tiny fisheye vignette of the world evaporating with the sun.
Chill wind flows down the narrow valley of the mountain stream, pushing beneath the overhanging branches, weaving through rock, bouncing from cooling water. It is the season of storms, the clouds build and tower, pushing up and up and up, before they crash into one another and hit the ground, growling. Night brings impossibly bright flash, lighting all for but a brief moment.
The crow is right. Summer is ending, autumn firmly announcing her presence at the door. That lazy, sleepy feeling of August is giving way to an urgency in nature — time to collect food, put on fat, build dens and prepare for the coming freeze.
This is the time for new activity, perhaps not the beginning of the natural year, but certainly one of them.
Leaves began to change and fall in late July, so intense the heat. Lower in the valleys is worse, less water and more trapped air. Oranges, yellows, browns and reds have been patchworking the forest for well over a month now.
Head uphill and the seasons return to a semblance of normality. Yet, even here, there are changes; the myrtille — the blueberries — were harvested much higher than normal, all those on the usual slopes were tiny, wizened and dry; the raspberries were not harvested at all, beyond a few to eat immediately, too hot, too dry; there are warnings of fire, bans on wild camping. One day, perhaps all too soon, there will be nowhere higher for those particular blueberries to spread — it is already the case with the raspberries, the framboise, my favourite. They have nowhere higher on their hill to climb.
There will be no raspberry jam this year.