2018-11-03 / Outdoors

INSIDE THE OUTDOORS

Everything Changes With First Frost

The first hard frost of autumn marks a tangible transition all around us.

Leading up to it, there are spotty frosts that are hit and miss. But when the killer frost comes, there’s no mistaking it. The growing season has ended and summer is a distant memory.

Leading up to the night of the first predicted frost there is a flurry of activity. Any remaining sensitive garden crops are picked in a rush.

The clear, starry sky confirms that the whole world will be covered in icy white crystals in the morning. You put an extra log on the fire to keep the house warm. Then you wait.

Perhaps there are still some autumn crops such as radishes, kale, turnips, and greens in the garden. Yet, they are low maintenance. For all intents and purposes, the garden is done for the year. Its abundance has been eaten, stored, frozen or canned.

You wake up the morning and peak out the window. White covers the rooftops and glimmers on the grass. Everything is clear and calm. Your body shivers at the thought of the cold outside as you sip the warm cup of coffee or tea.

At work and in town, it is the main topic of conversation.

You greet acquaintances with the question, “Did you have a frost at your place this morning?”

If the frost was not widespread, the conversations sound like this: “Did you hear that so and so said they had a frost at their place up on the hill this morning?”

A spotty frost is almost something to brag about. “I had to scrape frost off my windshield this morning.”

The world is different. The sounds outside are changed. The choruses of the crickets and katydids have subsided. It is more silent.

For some reason the scolding blue jays sound a little louder as they gather acorns. A similar effect can be heard with the crow whose “caw” sounds a little clearer now.

Hunters feel a sense of exhilaration. Hunting just isn’t the same when it is warm outside.

This year, the first frost sneaked up on us. The weather was so unseasonably warm through September and up until the second week of October. It seemed as if we went from 80-degree weather to having frosts in just a matter of a few days. It didn’t give us much time to prepare.

The unseasonably warm weather the first few weeks of autumn certainly affected our leaf color, which was not nearly as brilliant this year.

Last week was almost magical with its full moon. The crisp nights were beautifully bathed in autumn moonlight.

While September’s full moon is known as the Harvest Moon, October’s is the Hunter’s Moon.

Traditionally, the full moon gave enough light for hunters to continue their pursuits after daylight hours.

We should enjoy the transitions of the season while we can. It won’t be long before Ol’ Man Winter arrives, bringing dormancy to our natural world.

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