Thursday, July 29, 2021

Sundial of the Seasons

 July 28th and 29th

Sundial of the Seasons
"Dusk comes somewhat earlier now, the Summer Solstice already a month behind us and the daylight slowly diminishing. Time's are unchanged, but the landmarks shift even as the familiar star patterns shift in the night skies. Summer passes.
You see the change in the way the shadows fall. You see it in the trees, the subtle difference in the color of their leaves, in the ripening seed heads of the wild grasses, in young acorns on the oaks. Pasture roses fade. Black-eyed Susan and bouncing Bet flourish at the roadside. Queen Anne's lace is frothy white where daisies frosted the fence row a few weeks ago. Milkweed blossoms fade.
You hear the change in the bird calls, with fewer songs of ecstasy and more parental scolding. The wood thrush, the dove and the whippoorwill dominate the dusk. You hear it most decisively, when you pause to listen, in the insect sounds, for time has special dimensions for chitin-clad life that is granted only one Summer's duration. Bees are busier, wasps are more truculent, harvest flies more sibilant in the heat of the afternoon. Beetles click in haste, ants scurry, dragonflies dart on rattling wings.
And in the dusk, when the sphinx moths haunt the flower garden, crickets stridulate, mosquitoes hum, late lunas and other light-mad moths bang the window screens. August and katydids are just over the horizon, and Autumn is not far behind them. The shadow of time moves slowly but surely across the sundial of the seasons."
Hal Borland
"Sundial of the Seasons"
July 1962



23 comments:

  1. I like that. It really feels like that right now.

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  2. 'Stridulate'? Is that really the word? I think it was Mohammed Ali who said "If you don't learn something every day, that day has been wasted". Today I've learned 'Stridulate'. Thank you.

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  3. This is beautiful, thank you. I miss the summer evenings in the South. I can't remember the last time I heard a whippoorwill call. What a beautiful sound.

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  4. It is definitely like that right now. I was feeling rather nostalgic about this summer passing so quickly (and with such a lot of rain in June and July that it did not feel like a "proper" summer) when I was out for my after work walk and noticed the majority of fields already harvested.

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  5. I was going to compliment on your writing. You should have left the credit to someone else out of your post.

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  6. What a beautiful bit of prose. And, oh, that Sphinx moth. Is that one of your photos?

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  7. We call those moths Moon moths (Actias luna is their latin name) - they are not native to the UK of course but it's possible to get eggs and rear them ion schools etc - they make amazing silk cocoons... Sorry going on, can you tell I love moths... specialist subject (haha) The french call moths Papillons de Nuit - butterflies of the night. Love that.

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  8. Beautiful piece of writing and oh so true/ I notice it every time I step outside the door.

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  9. I find it very interesting that many believe moths are either plain or drab, when so many are beaitiful.

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  10. Hal had such feeling for Nature and the passing of seasons. Out of interest, is there any evidence that he was strongly religious?

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  11. Summer is flying by so quickly. The whole year has flown in a blur actually.

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  12. I first heard the word "stridulate" reading Hal Borland -- so it's funny that this short excerpt includes that word! He used it fairly often. Lots of crickets in his neck of the woods, I guess.

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  13. I like to think of moths as chubby butterflies (just like me), and that one is gorgeous!

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  14. That is a beautiful moth! I've never seen anything like it.

    Have a great weekend!

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  15. That brought me back to the present.

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  16. "fewer songs of ecstasy and more parental scolding" -- LOL!

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  17. To day I weeded in the garden, and dug new potatoes for lunch. A bumble bee bumbled in the pumpkin blossoms and then flew on to the next so close to my arm that I felt the tiny breeze from his wings. There is such joy in the little secrets of our world.

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  18. I am glad for less sun; I've had plenty of it this year.

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