The replacements

September has become a summer month. I don’t care when autumn officially begins; September in the Midwest is now hot. The leaves remain green and the grass still needs mowing. The new coats and sweaters hanging lifelessly in department stores mock us. Decorative pumpkins pop up on porches, but they look as out of place in these Septembers as Christmas trees. September is dry. The oaks and hickories in the woods won’t turn gold until November. Their leaves may not carpet the forest floor until December. No child has to wear thermal underwear beneath her Halloween costume as in generations past. Indian summer has replaced autumn. After a record flood the end of April, summer here went dry. I signed up for a butterfly workshop in Illinois last July and the week before it was to have taken place, I received notice that it was canceled. No butterflies. I was disappointed but it confirmed what I had noticed, too. No butterflies in the usual haunts on the western side of the Mississippi either. However, there were dragonflies – everywhere. In town. Far from lakes and rivers. My preschool niece and nephew noticed them, too, and that makes it official. The dragonflies are still here as September mellows on. They hover over fields of goldenrod as I continue to look for monarchs. They light upon the branching asters. I follow one to the lakeside and a damselfly joins her to keep me company as we turn or heads to the unexpected heat of the sun. I call this photo No Place for Autumn.

Copyright RC


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