To hear him, I step quietly onto the dewy front stoop in the early rises of a crisp August morning, and I watch the steam from my first cup of coffee escape into the sunny fog that rises above the river. He speaks softly through the panicked shrieks of the sparrows: gather! collect! forage! He murmurs in hints of yellow and orange flecks painted against the thick green canvas of summer’s end. He rolls with laughter as small shivering children covered in goose bumps revel in the last days of the outdoor pool. The morning sun struggles to warm the listless sunflowers swaddled in nighttime dew, and the evening chill brings hurried retreats for a comfy sweater. In the beginning, his presence may go unnoticed unless you truly listen. He walks lightly, almost floating above the ground without snapping twigs or crunching dried leaves, and on warm sunny days you’d never believe he’s lurking under the tall pines, waiting until sunset to fling his cool beard over the treetops.
I recognize your footprint
you’re always on time
Unlike the warm breath of spring and summer, Old Man Winter never makes us wait. Always prompt, fiercely predictable and forever on the trail of the painted maples, his icy kiss forces our heads into fleecy toques and our hands into woolen mittens.
Summer’s end brings short-lived days filled with raspberries and barefoot tree climbs.