Editor's note: This column is a reprint from yesteryear as Elaine Cole is taking a well deserved break.
The month of August is half gone, but summer is still with us. Nevertheless, it's easy to tell by the sights and sounds that the season is nearing its end.
There is no longer a dawn chorus, except for the murmur of insects. Oh, there's an occasional chirp of a robin and the cheeping of other burds, but no glorious concert like there was a short time ago. Daylight does bring the shrieking of bluejays. What their problem is, I don't know, but they certainly are complaining about something.
As the morning continues and birds come to our feeder, I hear familiar voices. The nuthatch calls out as he swoops in, finches chatter and the cardinals "pink, pink" while they gorge on sunflower seeds. the locust tune up their fiddles to accompany the crickets, but even their music is already winding down. by late afternoon, there is little sound in our yard and still less in the woodland beyond.
Going down the path to the creek I notice the lush greenery in the valley. Its deep color, the black berries crowding the path and the jewelweed on the flat indicate it is late summer. By the way, did you know that jewelweed or touch-me-nots are not merely pretty wild flowers? Its juice contains a soothing fungicide that makes it an effective treatment for athlete's fot. It also helps ease the burning of nettle stings and inflammation from poison ivy. In fact, it often grows in the same places as those problem plants. We have lots of this flower, but thankfully I've never seen any poison ivy or nettle.
Coming out of the greenery, I arrive at the creek. Its voice is now but a mummer. Sitting on the rock that was once surrounded by rushing water, I note now the liquid barely trickles around it. Its source is the shallow pool beyond and it continues on to the faster paced French Creek.
I also note the quietude. It too tells me that summer is nearing its end. Occasionally a chickadee makes known its presence, a mourning dove coos from afar and the tall, tall locust sigh in the breeze. Perhaps they are lamenting the last days of summer and its certain change of attire. I, however, enjoy the tranquility of God's beautiful cathedral.