Thursday, August 18, 2011

An Early Autumn?

Patches of golden leaves in birch trees near my workplace.  Is this an indicator of an early Autumn?
For weeks now I've been hearing friends and neighbors predict an early onset of autumn, and ultimately of winter.  "I'm already seeing color in the tree leaves.", one exclaimed.  "The fireweed is almost bloomed out.", proclaims another.  "It just feels like fall.", says a third. 

As I listen and nod I'm reminded of a word of advice once given me by an old sourdough, quite a few years ago.  "Only two kinds of people try to predict Alaskan weather," the grizzled old-timer proclaimed.  "Those are cheechakos and fools." 

The photo above, taken about 7:30 pm yesterday, shows that leaves really are starting to turn color.  It's not particularly early for that event, though.  Last year I noted leaves starting to turn on August 20th, On August 11th, 2008 I wrote that leaves were changing color, and in 2007 I wrote the first mention of the changing season also on August 11th. 

In today's issue of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Tim Lowry wrote that "The sandhill cranes are early and the Canada geese are right on time." in reference to migrating water fowl gathering at Creamer's Field wildlife refuge, in Fairbanks. 

So, I do agree that the earliest signs of autumn are evident, but I don't necessarily believe they are early.  As is usually the case when something involves Mom Nature, I think things are happening at exactly the time She thinks they need to happen, and it's not nice to mess with Mother Nature. 

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