This morning's forecast from the National Weather Service makes it official, summer is over:
FROST OR FREEZE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO OCCUR TUESDAY THROUGH FRIDAY MORNINGS...MAINLY ACROSS THE OUTLYING SUBURBS AND LOCATIONS WEST OF THE BLUE RIDGE. AS A REFERENCE...THE GROWING SEASON WILL BE OVER WEST OF THE BLUE RIDGE BY WEDNESDAY MORNING
The late rains these last few weeks brought the pastures back to life after a dry summer. I was hoping the frosts would hold off and allow a little more late grownth before we head into the winter. The more forage left in the field, the less hay we have to feed through the winter. One of the first signs that you are thinking like a farmer is realizing that there is direct link between the weather and your wallet. Sun and rain are, of course, beyond our control, which builds in a certain level of uncertainty into even as small a farming operation as ours. Being dependent on forces beyond one's control can have a salutary effect on a modern such as myself. I am not by nature a pious person and, left to myself, would agree with the old cowboy in a Tom T. Hall song who said "it don't do men no good to pray for peace and rain. Peace and rain is just a way to say prosperity, and buffalo chips is all it means to me." Nonetheless, there is something about the sight of the flock content on good pasture that brings pleasure apart from the economic reward. It leads almost inevitably to prayers of thanksgiving. Likewise, thinking of fields turned brown by drought, and the prospect of winter snows, I find myself praying the words of intercession from the Sunday liturgy: "For favorable weather, an abundance of the fruits of the earth, and temperate seasons" with an unaccustomed fervency.