Monday, September 10, 2012

The End of Summer

By 4:00 p.m. last Saturday afternoon, Mary and I had finished our weekend errands and had helped clean up at the conclusion of Pennypack's Native Plant Sale, so we decided to take a walk through the Raytharn Farm grasslands and meadows.  Severe weather was in the forecast, and the sky was mostly cloudy, but we decided we could get in a short walk

Once we crested the first hill, though, it was clear that we were going to have to cut our walk short.  The wind was blowing, the sky was lowering, and the air was becoming increasingly cool with each passing gust.  Was it too much to hope that this was the end of summer...?

The clouds continued to roil, sometimes darker, sometimes lighter, so we pressed on - always with an eye on an "escape" route.  The weather was just too delicious to pass up.

Indian-grass (Sorghastrum nutans) and Purpletop (Tridens flavus) in the Raytharn grasslands

The Midwestern prairies must have looked like this in the advance of an autumn storm, with the tall grasses moving in majestic sweeps under a leaden sky.

At one point, a raptor screamed across the sky, seemingly out of nowhere, intent on harassing a Turkey Vulture that was taking advantage of the strong updrafts.  The vulture disappeared behind a treeline, but the raptor reappeared, joined by a second, and the two wheedled around the sky for several minutes.

Eventually, it was clear that rain was imminent, so we hightailed it back to the house, pelted en route by ripe persimmons falling off trees lining the trail.

Just in time!  The heavens opened up for about 10 minutes, then settled down into a more gentle rain that lasted for about six hours before finally moving out about 10:00 p.m. Saturday night.  I opened the windows of the house and welcomed in the cool fall air.

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