The report from Goose Lake

Hi everyone,

There’s a sense of urgency around Goose Lake this time of year. The season of life is winding down.

Before many more weeks the leaves, though pretty for a time, will die and litter the ground, leaving bare limbs to beg for mercy when the winds of winter come chilling. Blossoms with their life-giving nectar will wither and perish. Most of the bees and other insects will die, too. Last week, honeybees swarmed around my hummingbird feeder and drove the hummingbirds away. This week, the birds are sipping alone. It’s the season when geese grow restless. They leave the lake by morning to forage in neighborhood fields and return at twilight, announcing their presence with noisy reunions. They form V-squadrons as if rehearsing for migration.

Most of the butterflies look weary now. Swallowtails with tattered wings is the norm. Eggs were laid sometime ago. Yesterday I saw a small green caterpillar on a geranium plant. A spider was on it. The caterpillar wasn’t dead yet but like the season, it will be soon enough. Butterflies and other insects that emerge this late in the year are doomed to waste their freshness but I’m grateful to see them.

Last night we noticed the first orb spider of the year. These artists have been there all along, silently adding to their girth. Now it’s time to construct their magnificent silk creations and turn our low limbs and shrubs into a gallery of their work.

Goose Lake is preparing to change its wardrobe. We’ll be watching, as always.