I like to tell time by plants.

The fireweed is finished flowering. That means the end of summer.  It’s turning into cotton, but it’s leaves haven’t turned a fiery red-orange yet. That means no frost so far.

The devil’s club across the creek is turning yellow, signaling three weeks until the first frost.

But as I sit on the deck in a moment of rare sunshine, and see my deck flower pots shaking off two weeks of rain, it’s hard to think of fall or winter.  Instead I hang on to the memory of a decent, but short, Alaskan summer.  And I’ll keep enjoying it until the fireweed leaves turn red.