Harbingers of Autumn
Fourth generation monarchs emerge from their chrysalises as the evening and morning air becomes cooler in late August and September. They can't stay still, but must keep moving south, stopping to nectar on the purple, yellow, and orange flowers that are blooming in abundance this time of year. They are in a race against time. They must get to the mountains in central Mexico before the winter storms begin.
And they aren't the only ones, the songbirds are also making this trip south following their food sources - insects, fruit, and nectar. In the beginning of the month, they are bingeing on berries, caterpillars, and seeds to put on enough fat to carry them through their long journey. Some fly by night using the stars and their own innate compass to guide them, while others fly by day, settling down at dusk to feed and find a safe space to sleep before heading out again.
Plants are making and storing sugars in their roots and cells, taking in every photon of light, even with their colored leaves - hanging on to the last possible moment, before letting go and going dormant for winter.
Wildlife that stays active is storing fat on their bodies and caching food for later, hoping to remember where it all is. Acorns, waxy berries, fir and spruce seeds, grubs, whatever they can get their paws and mouths on is eaten or stored.
Then there is us, humans, harvesting and canning food from our gardens, airing out the house with the windows wide open before shutting them tight for months on end, baking up a storm since it is cool enough to run the oven, staying out until the sun goes down, savoring the long days and last bit of heat, gathering together as much as possible, before we too, den up in our homes for the long winter.