Thursday, September 27, 2007

Upper West Side, Sept. 2007

I have a book called "Hal Borland's Twelve Moons of the Year," a collection of short essays that Borland, a nature writer, contributed to The New York Times back in the '70s. There's an essay for each day. Today's is about the changing seasons:
Frost has come to rural fields and gardens and the fires of life burn low in the insect world. The bugs and beetles are nearing the end of their time. Crickets and katydids seem to sense it; when you hear them on a warm evening now there is a new sense of urgency in their calls. Bumblebees sleep late, sometimes in the shelter of a tousled zinnia blossom, and wait for the sun to warm their blood enough so they can fly. Most butterflies have had their day and slumber as hostages to tomorrow in the egg, the cocoon, or as caterpillars.
I do seem to see fewer bugs now. I haven't noticed any fireflies in our back courtyard, and the big houseflies that congregated inside our lobby doorway seem to have disappeared. It's hardly cold - in fact, at the moment we're having a bit of Indian Summer, and I doubt there's frost on any rural field. But the bugs still must know the season is changing.


  1. That's beautiful! I wonder if he knows that there are actually thirteen moons in every solar year? Oh well ...

    The bugs here get really cranky and in your face at the end of the season. The mosquitoes go on the rampage - I do think they know their time is just about up.

    Rebecca, of Pocahantas County Fair, is a bug expert. She wrote a recent post about different katydids, how they begin to sing exactly six weeks before the first frost.

    How big can cricket brains be? How do they know these things??

  2. Splendid nature writing. Thank you for sharing his work, I will find more. Yes, we have much cooler weather this time of year and the spiders are replacing butterflies and dragonflies...

  3. The last things for the bugs to do before winter is to insure that there will be another generation in the spring. They get in your face as Reya said.

    Thank you for the wonderful excerpt Steve.