Everything else, since the last ice age sculpted this area where Fish Creek meanders, about 11,000 years ago – when Canada’s first indigenous plains people hunted here, roamed these parts, found sanctuary there, they witnessed what I see daily.
Long before sheep grazed here when Midnapore’s founders settled in Shaw’s Meadow– many floods have remade the path, a new creek each time, redesigning the park’s landscaping, and each summer’s growth of grass and leaves turn yellow and brown, landing softly and becoming soil soon.
There is, not so much a sound of fall coming, as there is a dry chill taste on the breeze – it’s as if mother nature first got a sore throat, and then she squirted swoosh gusts. Soon she’ll embrace frost, and critters will embrace critter in ritual rutting. Deer are plentiful here, coyotes, and skunks and pheasants too. I’m insufficiently schooled in bird watching to identify them, but an abundance of busy types and sizes – squirrels too – preparing, busy stocking up. It’s still technically summer, but the calendar fools no one. Sweater season now, and critter sightings will shift. It looks like the Osprey family is either gone fishing or gone south.
Leaves fall and land there, until they dry and scatter on a breeze, finding earth again, like carpet without under cushion, then degrading under winter snows to become spring’s top-dressing mixed with wet, as it has been since the first leaf ever fell.
Save for rain or strong wind, early fall’s paint job in Fish Creek Park might last a few more days – dawn’s early light paints nature’s palette explosively, and that ball of fire through smoky haze lit my evening walk’s homeward leg with hues I’ve never seen on canvas or paint-chip.
Rain, then snow and ice, will fall, and walking will become more treacherous before spring’s melting comes. This time is magic, and while morning frosts may be held at bay for a while, no force can solve this ritual season-change.
The pathway is new, calling it a park is new, but this place in ancient – where autumn shows up without fail, just as it has many thousands of years before, long before there were people to watch and admire what nature does.
A poetry explosion in today’s Musing. I loved the one paragraph short story about Grade 11. It brought to mind a question once put to Hemingway, “How short can a short story be?”, to which he replied, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”, RH, Calgary, AB