Monday 11 October 2010

Sunflowers, Swans, and an Old Woman Summer.

Yesterday my husband, step-son, and I snuck away for an afternoon bike ride to a local Biergarten.  We passed a pond where a weeping willow bent her branches down to the leaf-covered surface of the water, and where a pair of swans swam in tandem; and we passed a field with a delightfully incongruous crop of Christmas trees and sunflowers.  The weather was perfect with a crisp blue sky, a strong low sun, and the smell of Autumn in the air.  While it wasn't technically "Indian Summer", it was close, which made me think of the German term for it: "Altweibersommer" or Old Woman Summer.  I've heard that it's called that because of the webs spun from a Family of spiders known as Baldachinspinner, or Sheet Weavers, or Money Spiders.  In Autumn, one can often see their white gossamer threads floating and billowing on the air and in the trees like delicate strands of hair from an old woman.  I find that such a beautiful image: ethereal, whimsical, haunting. So much in keeping with the season.

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