Mother Nature again returns to lake

I know that technically fall doesn’t begin until the autumnal equinox, now a week away. But, for all practical purposes, it has begun already on the lake.

After Labor Day weekend, the human footprint dramatically decreases. The boat traffic is down by more than half, the jet skis and speed boats have virtually disappeared, and things are returning to mother nature–the way that they always do.

Some of it has to do with school restarting and all of the extra-curricular/sports activities that come with that. Vacations have been spent and it is back to work full-time for many. The Chautauqua Institution Season is over and its parking lots are nearly empty. There are a lot of reasons that people leave the lake this time of year.

However, in truth, it is mother nature herself who dictates the end of summer. The days are now shortening at a galloping speed, leaves are starting to turn yellow and will soon have shades of red. The last of the flowering plants–in our case, hibiscus, are in their final days of bloom. The impatiens will hang around, some until the first freeze, but then they too will disappear almost overnight.

Perhaps the singular, most telling sign of fall is that you can pretty much count on wonderful, cool, late afternoon breezes which make for great sleeping at night.

Close to sunset last week, it was especially quiet on the lake. There was no wind, the water was still and not a boat in sight. Then out of nowhere came the screech of a couple of eagles as they swooped in to do some fishing. They had been around all summer, but on this evening–they had the lake to themselves. It was beautiful.

Of course, there is still the ever-present presence of the fishermen, a vestige of human impact which really never leaves the lake–but, I exempt them from the rest of the predominantly people-centric activities on the lake. Fishermen always just blend in with the scene, don’t make much noise and come and go as the weather lets them. They are almost as much a part of mother nature as the eagles and waterfowl.

Soon, the lake will be outlined with the beautiful colors of fall. They won’t reach their peak until sometime in October, but you can usually count on at least one or two weekends of incredible autumn colors on Chautauqua Lake.

The best sunsets are usually seen by those living on the east side of the lake, but I have always contended that the fall foliage is best seen by those of us living on the west side who see the colors at their brightest when the trees are lighted up as we look east during the last, angled rays of refracted sunlight just as the sun is descending to the horizon. That is still to come.

OK. You and I know what comes after that — the cold and snow. I don’t like it as much as I used to you, but when it starts, the lake really goes into “mother nature” mode, though it can be a little “blah” then with overcast skies and cold-looking water.

But, fear not…the ice will be coming next and after that the ice fishermen–and then the whole process starts over again as the days will begin to get longer. Mother nature is still in charge!

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.


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