Week of November 7 – November 13, 2021
by Tom Meier, Program Manager
Just behind the Interpretive Center there is a patch of black walnut trees that have produced a mountain of nuts this year. If you venture too close to the trees you may be scolded by a spunky red squirrel who seems determined to stash every nut in the eaves of the pole barn. This ritual is repeated every fall.
Similarly, there is a chipmunk who lives somewhere under the back deck that I have named “Shovel”. Shovel climbs up the railing onto the platform bird feeder and in a matter of seconds can fill his cheeks up with sunflower seeds. He then scurries clumsily back down the railing and off to his special underground food storage room, stocking up against the lean winter months ahead. This ritual, too, is repeated every fall.
We have just passed the midpoint between the autumnal equinox and winter solstice. The weather has turned decidedly colder, and I am forced to trade sandals for wool socks. Winter will be here soon, and, like the animals, we all have our fall rituals that help us prepare both physically and mentally for long nights and snow.
November is a transition month, a chance to accept and embrace the changing seasons. I invite you to spend as much of this month as possible outside. Visit Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge just before sunset. Take a hike at Baltimore Woods in crunchy leaves and crisp air. Create new rituals in your life that let the beauty of late fall sink into your bones, keeping you connected to nature and the gifts of autumn.