Red maples in the shade are sporting a few leaves that live up to the tree's name.
Poplars have more yellow in their leaves than they should have in August.
Cool nights have sent the fireflies underground and crickets have gotten so slow they no longer chirp about the temperature.
Fog steals in like an ally cat, bringing up the old weather adage about the number of fogs in August being equal to the number of snow's in December. We've had one heavy fog already, and the official beginning of fall's a month away!
All of it seems to be coming earlier than usual. The tap water's taking on that taste of old damp leaves, meaning the water in lakes is turning over.
And the light. It's clear, clean and gives the sky a blue no artist could touch. Every cloud floats in strong definition. It feels like October in the mornings, that driest month of the year that appears like gypsies dancing across the state in dusty boots.
Doves aren't actually staging for the move south, but they are practicing. They dive into pine woods in the late afternoon, pairs and family groups melding into what soon will be flocks of hundreds.
Squirrels are working on walnuts, adding intensity to the slow grating of what's left of the cicadas.
Daylight is leaving before it's time for it to go, and people yawn, surprised that they're doing it so early in the evening. We shake off this urge to hibernate with one of those shivers that happen when somebody walks over our grave.
It is a bittersweet time that somebody like Bruce Springsteen might sing about, had he been brought up closer to the country instead of in one of those northeastern cities.
The signs are hard to get a good look at. It's something like a hint of what's coming, something seen from the corner of the eye.
But it's there. In recent set-in rains, the droplets gather at the ends of red, yellow and gold-laced leaves and just hold there. It means a drop in temperature.
Deer aren't exactly in herds, but when you see three of them, a couple more stepping tentatively out of the underbrush is no surprise.
Flocks aren't the rule either for turkeys, but there are too many in those loose groups to be attributed to family groups. There are fewer fights, a switch to the knitting of stray strands.
There is an inevitable drawing in, shutting down, snuggling in. Sound from open doors are being replaced by the sight of lights in windows.
Even the spiders are leaving early.
On long strands of web, the young spiders are launched into the wind. Sometimes, you feel them tickle your face on a morning walk. The young spiders may float 10 feet or they may gain altitude on thermal updrafts and leave the state.
There is a stillness about trees now. All the growth for the year is done. They wait for dry wind, for less and less light to put out their green fire.
Honeyvines and milkweed pods are swelling with their package of parachute seeds. Delivery is guaranteed from the seeds packed in precise geometric ways that can't be duplicated.
None of this is supposed to be happening in August. There is still supposed to be enough humidity to hide what we see from the corner of our eye, that glance that takes in the whirlwind that's making yellow leaves dance and rattle, something like a rattlesnake.
Yet, summer is a tough season, one that doesn't give up that easily. Hot, humid days will be back for a final go at the furnace.
If the past is any gauge of the future in weather predicting, summer will return during the Grayson County Fair, and we'll all be walking around on the asphalt like zombies.