Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Last Rose of Summer

'Tis the last rose of summer
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone...

Thomas Moore (1805)

Autumn arrives by the calendar today but its presence has been felt for much of the month. Shorter days, cooler nights and changing colours signal a change of the seasons. This past weekend the overnight temperatures dropped to a degree above freezing but killing frosts have yet to touch the garden. We had an abundance of green tomatoes which did not ripen during this cool, wet summer and they have now been picked from the vines for future enjoyment. I found one last red rose hidden beneath a bending branch of the forsythia bush.

Flocks of crows and starlings perch on the tops of trees making a great racket as they fly into the sky, circle and land again in the branches. Local ponds and swamps are full of plain Mallards, the males still lacking their breeding plumage. If you look closely, there may be a migrating Pintail or Green Teal duck amongst the common local birds.

Migrating Great Egret

Or an even more outstanding visitor may land and rest at the water's edge on its long journey south. Fall is my favourite time of the year bringing change, and unexpected surprises. Today's autumn equinox sets us on the three month journey to winter's solstice as the sun warms the southern hemisphere emerging from the chill of winter.


  1. Nice that you are still seeing the last of summer mixed with fall. Oh boy, friend green tomatoes.

  2. Sadly the last rose...since winter in your area makes a much greater impact on life than here in California!

  3. Almost freezing already? Wow. We'll not see real freezing temps until probably sometime in November. It's a bittersweet time for sure, but we certainly won't begrudge those in the southern hemisphere a summer. :c)

  4. Gaelyn- I hope the tomatoes ripen because I have never used green tomatoes before...

    Jeanette- I think I would enjoy California after our first or second snowfall.

    Jayne- Our days are still warm (60s to low 70F) but the nights are lovely and cool.

  5. Fall is my favorite season too. I love the cool nights, the warm days and the colors of bright oranges and reds.

    I was driving home from the farm on Sunday and took the sideroad. I saw that the hydro lines were THICK and black. As I got closer the road was black. I only wish I had a video camera. There must have been 250,000 starlings or more. I have seen them gather on wires before, but I have never seen them gather on the road...they made the road look like it was paved, there was just so many. I drove slow so not to scare them. But in one swoop they were up and away and the skies darken as the flock flew away. That was a sight to behold.

  6. When we lived in Wisconsin I always dreaded the autumnal equinox. Here in NC we have cold but sunny winters so I don't mind as much. I don't have to grieve the last rose of summer anymore. Lovely photographs.

  7. Your pictures paint fall so beautifully.I too love fall,actually I love all the seasons and the changes they bring.Happy Fall my friend.

  8. Lovely, as ever, Ruth. There is something so wonderful for me in watching the changing of seasons. I love the look, the feel, and the smell of these days.
    I posted on this very subject--with the same title--two years ago.
    I included the entire poem "The Last Rose of Summer." Here's the first stanza--

    'Tis the last rose of summer,
    Left blooming all alone,
    All her lovely companions
    Are faded and gone.
    No flower of her kindred,
    No rose bud is nigh,
    To reflect back her blushes,
    Or give sigh for sigh.

  9. You've laid out the transition beautifully in words and photos!

  10. Lovely pics. I do like this transition, but spring is my all time favourite season.
    We've been lucky with warm autumn temps this year. Summer flowers are still around and blend with fall ones. Your egret stands out among the brown ducks. Have you heard the geese flying south yet? I have - only just last week.

  11. Beautiful last rose. We've already had a light freeze here. That egret looks elegant among the ducks.

  12. Cheryl- I saw a flock like that just once near Langdon Hall. I wonder where they go?

    NCMW- Darkness is what I dislike most about our winters. Cold is fine if the sun shines.

    Ruth- Many of us find the fall season beautiful and invigorating, and for good reason.

    Donna- Thanks for sharing the stanza and the link to your post the entire poem. Yes, the poem is rather melancholic, but so true.

    Deborah- thanks...it is a transition in many ways and so much like life

    Wendy- Our local geese never leave. They fly around the city in V formation all winter as they are adequately nourished by our garbage. :-(

    Janie- I love seeing the Egrets when they pass through. There have been frosts in the country outside the city. Some years we do not get a frost for another month.

  13. Anonymous7:52 pm GMT-4

    I am sorry to see it go (it was so short this year), but I am also looking forward to fall.

  14. I don't like summer much and I'm thrilled it's Fall now.I just wish it would last a little longer than it does.

  15. Hi Ruth, I think I remember you telling me that last year - about your geese not leaving in winter. Oops!


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