The loons are singing their last calls before flying south for the winter; it is chilling to hear them calling at night and I know it may be one of the last times I hear them for a while. Each time that I hear them I become very still to soak in every last note.
The river is much colder as I wade in it on the last day of the fishing season. The leaves are starting to turn red and yellow along the riverbanks and the maple leaves match the brook trout’s red fins and bellies. I fish in the cool evening air until my feet start to feel numb and my fingers hurt from pulling brookies off my fly in the cold water. I can smell a few skunks as I walk back to camp at dusk.
I sit with my little two year old niece around the campfire and tell her the story of how the night sky was made. She snuggles into my lap in the cold autumn night and we gaze at the brilliantly speckled sky. When the story ends she simply gazes skyward and a loon calls in the night. I suck my breath in and say “Did you hear that?” “Listen it might call again.” And we both listen for its haunting clear call. I let the sound surround us and we stay still and silent for a bit after its call. Then she stirs in my lap peering at the low burning fire and I pull a log out from the nearby pile, brushing off a few fallen leaves that have collected on the pile and add it to the fire. We sit up late by the fire and listen to the night sounds and watch the starry sky above us and the bonfire flames at our feet.
It is Autumn; a time for harvesting the last of the summer’s abundance, soaking in the last bit of warmth during the day, building the first fire in the wood stove at night, and pulling out the winter wool blankets.