We see them all the time.
There are traffic signs that tell us where we are and where we’re going. They tell us when to stop, when to go and where not to go. There are billboard signs that encourage us to visit a particular store, gas station or restaurant. There are signs on buildings, signs on cars and trucks and even signs that are pulled behind airplanes. There are neon signs that light up and there are signs that tell us whether a business is open or closed. There is even a special sign just to tell us when the donuts are hot (and I ain’t talkin’ about Dunkin).
Signs aren’t all man-made. There are plenty of signs in nature. Tracks on the ground tell us that an animal has passed by. Fanned-out depressions in the bottom of a pond tell us that fish are spawning. There are signs in the sky. A dozen constellations correspond with the signs of the zodiac. There are people try to predict the future based on zodiacal signs and there are even people who plant their gardens by these same signs. A ring around the moon is said to mean that rain is coming soon and we’ve all heard the saying “red sky at night, sailor’s delight, red sky in the morning, sailor take warning”. Yep, those are signs too.
Lately I’ve noticed a few signs that I look forward to seeing every year. They tell me that the heat and humidity of a Southern summer are almost over and the cool, dry weather of fall are quickly approaching. Week before last I noticed the first of the three I look for… a change in the afternoon sunlight and shadows. The sun is no longer directly overhead and since the sunlight isn’t bearing down from directly above, the light often seems a little more diffuse and the shadows are a bit longer.
I noticed the second sign as I pulled in my office parking lot Tuesday. The leaves on the trees along the fence line beside our building are always the first to turn and fall each year and our parking lot was carpeted with leaves.
I noticed the third sign yesterday morning just by chance. As I took our dogs to tend to their (very) early morning business , I happened to look up and to the southeast and saw Orion the Hunter, one of my favorite winter constellations shining brightly just above the trees. He’ll move to the wintertime evening sky soon enough but during the fall he greets us in the morning.
Soon enough the signs will change to herald the coming of winter and then of spring and summer as the yearly cycle continues. But, for the time being, I’m content to enjoy the signs of fall…OK, and maybe hot donuts.
Whats Your Sign?