If I were to give each month a color, September would be gold. It is a golden month in many ways. Here in the Midwest the suffocating summer heat and humidity is finally gone leaving cool nights and warm autumn days. The scorching summer sun has slipped lower in the sky and now sits at such an angle that its rays stretch out over the landscape like golden fingers caressing an autumn bouquet.

The chlorophyll in the leaves of trees and flowers is beginning to recede revealing golden yellow veins and membranes. The leaves of the ash trees are usually the first to turn and the first to loosen their grip and fall to the ground in a burst of golden rain with the first autumn storm.

The summer crops of corn and soybeans are fading from green to gold before they enter their final phase of brown. The meadows and roadsides are filled with goldenrod and yellow asters and they wave at me in the breeze as my car rushes by.

Nature is also beginning to redress her animals by changing the feathers of the wild canary or goldfinch from golden yellow to a more subtle shade of tarnished gold. The season’s new deer are losing their spots as they transform from fawns to full-fledged adults complete with new golden brown coats.

All of this is nature’s way of telling us that summer’s party is coming to an end and it is time to prepare for winter’s icy vengeance. But before we enter that slippery slope of ice and sleet we should take time to soak in nature’s golden glow. King Midas was never as rich as the person who takes a moment to appreciate all the gold nature has to give.

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