It’s still raining. Monsoon clouds still build from the southeast. But the first winds of autumn can already be felt in the air. Even though it feels as though it just began, the summer is on its way out.
It was only two months ago that the soil was desiccated and powdered. Vegetation was a crispy and golden. The sun shone all day, drying the land and parching the lips.
A little over a week ago I woke up early to work with the community to help salvage some native Giant Sacaton grass. Our pants were soaked with morning dew as we moved through the grass. Views of cloudscapes clutching mountain peaks dramatically surrounded us as we trimmed a summer’s worth of growth off of the clumps of grass. As we dug up the bunch grass, children scanned the vegetation for caterpillars. Each caught caterpillar earned 5 cents to the captor. And these creatures were mowing down the swelling vegetation at a tremendous pace.
I have witnessed water beget vegetation and vegetation beget caterpillars and grasshoppers (which are now so abundant that I have to dodge them as I drive to work.) Migrating birds have just entered Patagonia to devour the cornucopia of insects. And it all begins with water.
While summer begins to dwindle, migration begins to take off. I am fortunate to be able to witness this changing of the seasons through annual ecological succession. What a fun job to be able to witness this shifting.