A few days of glorious Indian Summer.
I’ve stolen one of them. There is much that must be done. There is always much that must be done. I couldna let such a day go to waste.
I set out reasonably early to the woods north of Zimmerman Butte (aka The Pit; our shooting range). The songbirds played a lively tune as the fine morning light crowned Black Butte.
I was determined to make this a ramble, not a march. Too often I hit the woods like it’s a workout, focused more on reeling off miles than on being present. This day, I studied the ground, and was rewarded with tracks of deer, coyote, elk, raccoon, countless squirrels, several horses and one human hiker.
A four-mile ramble, followed by two hours of Frontier Partisans Biathlon (kettlebell complexes and shooting) and some heavy bag work smoked me, so I retired to spend the rest of the day reading, writing and playing the guitar. Glorious. The mountain of Things That Must Be Done is still there, but I am refreshed for the climb. Indian Summer is the Season of the Frontier Partisan, and it must be grasped in both hands, no matter what.
And what is Indian Summer? ’Tis that last hurrah of warm temperatures (the day featured a 50+ degree temperature swing), coming after the first frosts and before the chill of true autumn sets in. The air smells of spice and feels like a caress. No one seems to know whence came the term. It is first recorded in 1778, in Letters From an American Farmer, by a French-American soldier/farmer J. H. St. John de Crèvecoeur.
“Then a severe frost succeeds which prepares it to receive the voluminous coat of snow which is soon to follow; though it is often preceded by a short interval of smoke and mildness, called the Indian Summer.”
I had long believed the term harkened back to the old frontier of New York and the Ohio River Valley, where the season marked a final, severe spasm of raiding against the settlements. That’s a plausible theory, but there’s nothing in the record to back it up.
Indian Summer is also the title of an erotic Euro graphic novel by Hugo Pratt and Milo Manara.
Betty Zane?! Is that you?!
The season does seem to get the sap up…
Above all, Indian Summer is a reminder of the brevity of our season. Seize the day.
The tune of the season for me, so far, has been Clann an Drumma’s Order of the Stag.