In Louisiana, September is the season of winding down, of transition to better times. It is as if all things in the natural world are fed up with the necessary struggles to carry on in the heat and humidity of our subtropical summers. Within the trunks of white oaks and black hickories, the growth rings of summer wood form a defined edge. The trees stop growing. Buckeyes have long since lost their leaves and those of black gum flame scarlet in protest. Each fleeting breeze that follows an afternoon shower convinces a few of the bold leaves to jump first from the treetops and not wait for a bona fide autumn zephyr.