Saturday, September 12, 2020

Labor Day

2020 is an unusual year, but some things are familiar

Labor Day weekend in the US is about a week in the past as I write this. Labor Day isn’t really the end of summer, which officially comes a few weeks later, but it’s a clear turning point. Summer is ending soon and fall is starting to push in. Students are heading back to school (though in very unusual ways this year), and mornings and evenings are noticeably cooler.

At my beach house we can see the changes in the surrounding wildlife. Over Labor Day weekend I was in my yard doing some work on fishing tackle when I saw large birds swimming toward me down the waterway. In the summer, it would have been swans but now it was Canadian Geese. In fact, from that point on they seemed to be all around, including flying south in V formation overhead. 

Canadian Goose

I also started seeing Monarch Butterflies, a sure sign of fall. We see lots of migrating Monarchs at the beach and even over the water as the fall starts.

Monarch Butterfly

The fish are changing with the season, too. We can see this in the water where the species and size changes are noticeable, and in the tackle shop where the baits and rigs for fall fish start to show up. The pods of bunker are larger, and they will soon be chased by Striped Bass moving into the area. The bottom fishing is seeing more and bigger Black Sea Bass as the water gets a little colder and clearer.

Black Sea Bass

At the farm market, the size and mix of fruit and vegetables has started to change. There are fewer strawberries, but larger corn, and more apples. And when pumpkins show up it’s really clear that fall is coming.

The night sky is changing, too. We always see more stars at our beach house in the fall, as the humidity drops. We have been enjoying finding constellations and planets, assisted by smartphone apps, while sitting around the evening fire.

Over the Labor Day weekend I watched as neighbors put away some of their summer toys for the season, including wave runners and standup paddle boards, while leaving bigger fishing boats in for a few weeks longer. Some are even beginning to close up their summer houses but my plan will be to leave the “summer house” open all winter this year as a getaway. COVID-19 isn't done with us yet and the availability of a second home to stay locked away will provide a welcome change from time to time.

I'm always a little sad when Labor Day comes, but I'll look forward to a pleasant fall and I'll start counting the months until summer returns.

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