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Of hummingbirds and harvest moons

Astronomically speaking, there a big things on the horizon. Literally. The autumnal equinox is upon us on Wednesday, September 23rd (at 4:21 am according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac) but then on Sunday, September 27th the full moon is also a closest-orbit seemingly-giant moon and the subject of a lunar eclipse. The colorful description is a Super Blood-Moon. But we prefer the “Harvest Moon” or corn-maker (skamonkas) the Abenaki always called it.

Celestial mechanics at this time of year remind us that the season of ‘looking up’ is coming on. We saw the first “v” of geese the other morning, and the last of the hummingbirds must be on his way to Texas where flocks in the thousands gather along the Gulf Coast rest before their solitary all-day flights, sometimes over 500 miles of open water, on their way to winter habitats in Mexico. Given the commotion five or six birds together would make at the feeders this summer, thousands engaged in territorial jousting must be something to see!

Looking up also lets us savor the sunshine of these September days. It’s not “Indian Summer” as – happily – we’ve been far from the first frost. But it is the season when the paths through our woods would have been starting to fill with families carrying summer corn, squash and beans back to the highlands and their wintering-over spots away from the shore and the autumn storms. We’re still enjoying those Three Sisters crops and the first of the apples.

The foliage season is in its anticipatory stage – yellow beeches and one or two branches of red maples among the green. The color to come is like haze on the treetops, just as hesitant to move on as we are. At Spruce Point Inn, we bask in the brilliant blue where sea meets sky and translating the “reaches” of place names into the easting compass points of sailboats on the wind. Still great sailing weather and even-better homecomings with friends and family.

Hummingbirds and wild geese against a full moon, homeward bound, but not without a parting stretch and gathering glance in the sunshine.