Summer Sorrow

At the height of summer, after an evening of sustained rains, Fountain Creek is a ruddy river. The mountains remain shrouded in layers of clouds. Instead of paths there are puddles, the air is pregnant with moisture, and the vegetation with dewy droplets. Slightly sluggish avian and insect activity accelerates with the rising sun. Alas, mosquitoes are not among those handicapped by the high humidity. On trails bordered by wet grasses my shoes and socks become soaked.

The flora is in full bloom or has gone to seed. I am greeted by the golden smiles of manifold sunflowers. Despite a bounty of milkweed, I see a lone Monarch butterfly. Grasshoppers disperse before my approach, one group to the right, the other to the left.

Baby birds are everywhere, growing up fast. The avian mood differs from the urgent wooing and coupling of spring. Now is a time for family joys and challenges, with hungry infants, toddlers, or teenagers constantly begging for food and attention. Is it my imagination, or do the parents show exasperation? Their biologic goal fulfilled, they don’t have as many reasons to sing. Other than the squealing in the nurseries, it is relatively quiet. Adult robins’ plumage is past its prime, but the juveniles’ appears adorned with brilliant beads. Swallows sail on shiny wings, forever the aerial acrobats. While hyperactive wrens work their way through the woods, velvety waxwings gorge themselves on berries, goldfinches on thistle seed.

There is loveliness wherever I gaze. I sate my soul with this life-affirming commotion. But interlaced with my joy is melancholy. Why am I sad? Is it because of the knowledge that natural habitats are diminishing? Because this enclave teeming with energy is encircled by development, and there are not nearly enough similar refuges? Because many animals will sally south soon? Because summer will be followed by fall and winter, by dormancy, if not death? Because of (wo)mankind’s inability to coexist peacefully, with fellow humans, and with other species? Because our exquisite, unequalled earth seems on the verge of the abyss? Because of love and loved ones lost?

I am not alone in my wistfulness. “In the midst of life we are in death,” is a saying dating to medieval times, but reflecting a sentiment likely as old as humanity. Perhaps I am feeling it so acutely because nature’s vitality has peaked? Sad as I might be, it is comforting to know that the earth, for now, will continue in its orbit around the sun, and life in its inexorable, heart-rending beauty.

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14 thoughts on “Summer Sorrow

  1. Beautiful and meaningful writing, Tanja! 🙂 And beautiful photos. What kind of snake is it at the photo? Is it venomous? I am beginning to notice the shorter days too.. we will soon have fall which is actually my favorite time of the year and winter.. How cold does it get where you live? 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for your visit and comment.
      I think it is a Garter Snake, very cute and definitely not poisonous.
      Yes, the days are getting shorter and only this morning there was a dusting of snow on top of Pikes Peak! Winter can get cold. blustery, and snowy along Colorado’s Front Range, but the snow usually does not stay for long. This is different from areas high in the mountains where it can linger from October to May or even June!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Reminded me of this quote by Khalil Gibran,

    “For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.”

    Death, as scary as it is, is not always a bad thing. Death makes way for the new and is a part of the circle of life. Beautiful photos! I love the Monarch. I hope you are feeling a little better now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment, Kayla, and for sharing that quote. I agree that death is part of the circle of life, whether we like it or not. I can deal with that part better than with the loss of habitat and species, and with all the threats that face humanity and the earth.
      Best wishes, Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your writing is just as beautifully fantastic as your pictures! Amazing, and definitely awe inspiring. Peace radiates through your post! I’m glad I found your site. Jesus bless you. 🙂


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