It is late summer but it does not yet smell like fall. No autumnal breezes wafting, but here in Yukon on the sixth of August we can feel autumn, as surely as we can feel spring on a cold cold day in March, still under four feet of snow.
Late summer is not revealing itself so overtly in the forest. No, the forest is instead becoming more regal. More stately. Each tree is proudly luxuriating over this year’s few millimeters of height gained. The forest is quieter. Mosquitoes are on the wane, and the birds, having done most of their reproductive work, are enjoying the company of their spouse in this year’s fine nest before it’s time to move. The forest is like a Queen in the late period of her rein: seasoned, supremely confident, needing no words to express her power.
Late summer is showing itself in the garden. Everything is rusty, and there are raspberries, and the annual flowers are wishing they lived somewhere else. Even the dandelions are looking rusty in their leaves, and every plant that bears fruit is expressing itself fully, its seeds presenting themselves to us animals in the final act of botanical reproduction: “Eat Me, scatter my seeds.”
But I not a plant. Iam an animal, am more like a beaver, or a bear, and I am facing hibernation. In fact, I am facing my most magnificent hibernation yet, a hibernation which will end in March, with a dramatic calving season, and a new leggy colt. I am very pleased to be in sync with the deer, actually all wild fur-bearers, on this one. Spring is the time for babies.
I have been trying to explain to the cats that I am pregnant, that is, with child, or ‘there is going to be a litter,’ or ‘I’m going to have a human-cub.’ Inter-species communication, difficult at the best of times, is really breaking down on this one. Too Conceptual? Cat gestation periods are nine weeks. These are the responses I seem to be getting from the cats.
Hilde to Pony: “Pony, I’m going to have a baby.”
Pony: ” Mmm hmm. Let’s snuggle.”
Hilde to Pony: “Do you get it? A baby. You’ve always been my baby Are you worried? Jealous? Are you ready to be a big sister”
Pony: “Hmm hmm hmmm……”
Hilde to Gretchen: “Gretchen, I’m going to have a baby.”
Gretchen: “You know Hilde, I don’t actually live in this reality.”
Hilde: “This is pretty important to me. I’m going to have a baby.”
Gretchen: “Listen, I think you’ve known for some time that I only barely live in this reality, because I have a mission to show passionate love to you and John. Let me show you love. Feast your eyes on the exquisite fur of my stomach”
Hilde: “So the baby….”
Gretchen: “This communication is over.”
Writing this down has been very illuminating. Time to enjoy late summer. Time to eat fruits and fatten up. Time to look forward hibernation’s best activity: sharing body heat with the mammals you love to love best.