The Gathering

This past week I’ve been watching squirrels gathering acorns around the church grounds. They’ve been quite busy! As I observed them, I wondered how they know when they’ve gathered enough. Do they know how many they will need during the long winter ahead? Have you ever wondered where they keep them all?

I’ve seen squirrel nests up in the treetops, but it’s doubtful there is even a single acorns inside. The gray squirrels in our area actually bury their cache, one nut at a time. According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, each squirrel can bury up to 1,000 nuts per year! And somehow, they will find a substantial number of them when they are hungry. (And I’m pressed to find where I’ve placed my six pair of reading glasses.)

Arrivals and Departures

I often ponder the amazing timing of God’s creatures — how they know when to gather food, hibernate, and migrate. Do they simply sense the change in season, or are they intricately designed to know when it’s time to gather or go?

By mid-April each year, I am eagerly watching for the hummingbirds to arrive at our feeder. They are so tiny and quick that I often miss their debut. One day I’ll be standing at the window sipping my coffee, and suddenly, there they are! Then again each fall, I await their departure for warmer climates. The feeder stays outside until I am sure they are gone. Then within a few days, I am cheered by the arrival of the Dark-Eyed Juncos, foraging on the ground for seeds. The passing of these two bird species is nearly simultaneous each fall.

Think about the millions of birds and butterflies right now, high above us in the skies, heading to their winter homes. And next year, they will make this trip north again. It’s truly amazing!

Goodnight Garden

On the home front, the vegetable garden is almost finished for the season. I find myself wishing we had planted more squash, but we just didn’t have the extra space this year. We’ve had quite a lengthy dry spell, and everything green is stressed from the ongoing heat. We continue watering our tomatoes, and they are still producing fruit. That will likely continue until the first frost, usually in mid-October.

As we did last year, we plan to let a substantial part of the garden stay in place through the winter months. It provides both food and shelter for our feathered friends. We’ll have a bit more clean-up in the spring, but I don’t mind the delay.


The Homecoming

Perhaps like the squirrels, fall is my gathering time too.

This change in seasons brings a blend of heavenly aromas — cinnamon and nutmeg, hot apple crisp and simmering stews. It’s time to dig out the sweaters and blue jeans, and begin decorating my home. Fall is a cozy time of anticipation too, while I await that moment when everyone finds their way back home. My nest — and heart — will be full again.


4 thoughts on “The Gathering

  1. Rose Moore says:

    If you’re surrounded by thick woodland, as I am in my valley in northeastOhio, you have something to look forward to,, other than the colder days so many people dread. As the leaves thin progressively, down to nothing at all, your horizons will grow… and grow… and your barriers to great open sunrises and sunsets will be gone. In my own luscious creek valley, I will again be able to see the full course of the waters that nourish this natural setting…
    This is the time of the year when I learned to accept and appreciate –nd yes, even savor–the HERE AND NOW.

    • Dawn says:

      There is much truth in the “here and now”, Rose! Unfortunately, we live in a planned community and have homes surrounding us. The only wooded area is behind our house, and as soon as the leaves fall, my backyard neighbors can see what we are eating for dinner! But still, I enjoy the color change and the freshening air. We enjoy relative privacy most of the year. When we retire, we will definitely look for a home with views of sunrises and sunsets, and not our neighbors’ kitchen table.😉 For now, we will be content with our present view. We are blessed in so many ways.

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