Today nature has dropped a gray curtain between acts. Tomorrow’s wind and reasonably cool day will replace the unseasonably warmth we have been enjoying. The scenery will swiftly shift from yellow, reds, and oranges, to a minimalist’s portrait of beautiful, but bare essentials.
Meanwhile I cannot miss the busy stirring of the creature world, thanks to an abundant crop of acorns. The roof top pounding and constant pings of gutter hits have been replaced with the incessant “kuk”s and “quaa”s of squirrels and a bumpy ground bed. It is impossible to walk across lawn, sidewalk, or street without hearing the crunch and feeling the soles of my feet being massaged.
Surely the mother tree is quite literally rooting for her little acorns to find their way under the soil, ensuring a legacy – for everyone’s good. Meanwhile the creature world is stirring with frenetic energy – well the squirrel is frenetic, the blue jays persistent, the ground hog mulling it over, and the black bear, sighted on the corner in the early hours of the morning, inhaling acorns by the pound.
Adam Warwick, stewardship manager and wildlife biologist at the Nature conservancy of North Carolina says that during the fall season the black bears consume anywhere between 15,000 and 20,00 calories a day to prepare for winter – and acorns supply the Western North Carolina black bear much of this diet. To convey the big picture, Warwick provides a calorie conversion chart – and a 25 pound bag of dog food is 42, 425 calories – or 11,165 acorns! No wonder those bears are food scavengers! A loaf of bread is a quick calorie, low labor choice. (https://mountainx.com/living/the-bears-are-back-in-town/).
Just around the corner the deer, chipmunks, rabbits, and raccoons are busy competing for the spread of acorns. And did you know that like good wine, acorns come in preferred tastings of red and white varieties? How about that! ( http://blog.nwf.org/2013/10/the-wildlife-benefits-of-acorns-and-oaks/ )
Nature is resetting the thermostat and determining the precipitation that will shape my winter days. I’m going to guess that the way the wind blows in the coming months is a little less predictable. However, if I were wise, I would take my cue from the creatures with their determined, resourceful, and think-ahead actions. I have had the heating system checked; the car battery is doing fine; wool socks, long sleeved shirts, and sweaters are accessible, and the soup and chili recipes marked. Time will shift to a different pace; the pattern of my day will change. Nature signals me it is a good time to take stock of my year. Hibernation certainly has its good points.