Walking the dogs last night, I noticed yellow leaves from the narrowleaf cottonwood trees lying on the ground beside the road. A few started turning yellow in mid-August. Drought stress? Usually their peak of golden shimmer comes in October — and I expect that most will hold their lives until then. But still, it's a sign.
Sometime in the last two weeks the black-headed grosbeaks who breed in the oak brush around the house departed without saying good-bye. So did the male rufous hummingbirds, although a few females remain, mixing it up at the sugar-water feeder with the resident broad-tails.
Evening grosbeaks' movements are mysterious. A flock of perhaps two dozen was here early in the summer, May into June, and then they disappeared. Now a few are back.
The big change was the cold front that came in on Tuesday. Now the highs are in the 80s F. (or less) instead of the 90s. And the sunlight has a warmer, yellow quality — due to the smoke from forest fires in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, etc. moving in with the northwest winds.
This is not autumn, but it is some kind of change.
Rain falls occasionally, but not enough. M. and I abandoning some of the outlying flower and vegetable beds. Gather what is there, let the rest dry up. I rolled up one soaker hose this morning, and I need to get out and start gathering seeds. Unlike this guy, I won't need a vacuum cleaner.
The temptation, however, is just to drink coffee on the porch and get an early start on autumnal melancholy — and the only cure for that is travel.