Indian Summer

September is the Island’s best-kept secret and many Islanders who work hard all summer consider it their own special gift. The ocean water is still warm enough for swimming, and beach days are still at hand for strolling, collecting shells and stones and, of course, one more plunge into the ocean. Will it be the last until next year?

The derby is on and fishermen line the shore, casting for blues and stripers in their waders, perhaps making us somewhat incongruous as we splash about in shorts and bathing suits.

Sweet pepperbush has begun to bloom in the salt marshes and beetlebung trees have begun to shed their first scarlet leaves in the woodlands. Uncut meadows are dotted with blue chicory and yellow goldenrod, and black-eyed Susans are having a second act. Silvery-leafed autumn olive, planted years ago as windbreaks and now despised as an invasive, is covered with tart red berries. Bittersweet, another invasive that competes for space in the hedgerows of huckleberry and bayberry, is turning autumn orange.

The days of Indian summer linger, something to be savored as summer turns the corner into fall.