When I arrived at work, I was informed that a small grizzly bear has been seen hanging around the work site, and that the cliff swallows, among my favorite 'skeeter eaters', have already left. Indeed, as I made my regular rounds in the facility the swallows were most noteworthy by their absence. Not a single one seems to remain on the site. It sure seems early for them to have left.
Several of my friends have noted that the fireweed has bloomed out to the tops of their stalks. Local lore has it that when the fireweed blooms reach the top of the plant, freeze-up is only 6 weeks away. As I made my early rounds tonight, I realized that not only has the fireweed topped out, it is already shedding cottony seeds.
|A few cotton-like seeds can be seen barely clinging to this bloomed-out fireweed|
So, my friends who noted these early signs of a rapidly approaching autumn really aren't kidding me. We are losing 7 minutes of daylight each day, the fireweed has already topped out, and migratory birds are apparently already beating wings for more southerly climes.
I'm still not ready to predict an 'early autumn' or 'early winter', though. Having spent the past 20 years in this country the one thing I've learned with certainty is that only two kinds of people try to predict Alaska weather - newcomers and fools.
Still, I have to accept that summer is more than half over and winter is approaching more rapidly than I am prepared to admit.