We were on our pilgrimage to the Stupa when the possibility of changing leaves was first discovered. At first, we were not sure; after all, to reach our destination, we had to travel through a burn area, the different colors may have been caused by the flames and blast-furnace heat. Less than a week later, treks to the ruins of Waldorf and a walkabout up to Pavilion Point confirmed it; indeed, some of the leaves are turning, and summer in the High Country is winding down.
There are those who have prophesied an early autumn. I was once told the changing of leaves has more to do with the changes in available light than the ambient air temperature. If that is fact, just because the leaves might change early does not mean we are any closer to autumn or even winter, but these things cannot never be predicted with any certainty. Prophets do not know everything and oracles can be wrong.
The coming weekend is referred to as the last official weekend of summer. The death-rattle of the summer tourist season. Things will drop off for a bit before the lookie-loos come to see the aspens in a few weeks. It is a chance to count coffers and catch breath.
It has been a good summer. A decent monsoon helped to eradicate the macabre of the earlier wildfires. The temperatures have moderated with the coming of the rains. In our Sahel things have been lush and green.
When engaged in obligations, powerful people have voiced their pleasure at how fortune's wheel has spun. There has been rumors of pittance become more than a survivable wage, and something that might almost be livable. No promises have been made, but the rumors have their bases in fact.
I have accomplished bicycle rides in excess of twenty miles and the summiting of my personal Kilimanjaro this summer. Neither of which was necessarily planned. They just happened. Of course, I never plan anything. My favorite joke goes; want to make a deity laugh? Have a plan.
Whether it was the pilgrimage to the Stupa, or, the interaction with some ethnic Tibetans a few days after, I've found myself not quite as at odds with my heretical belief as I had been in the nearly three years since my mother's death, and almost two years since the bruja was killed. Though it is hard to place into language, there has been a certain sense of peace I've felt since those events that I did not realize I was missing until the sensation arose. I could almost call it a gift from summer.
As the season winds down, I find myself looking forward to the bardo before aspen season. My birthday is but a few days off, and a decade will have shed its chronological skin. The serenity of the thin mountain air has a particularly sweet taste. I am at peace. Summer has been good to us.