Valley Reporter reader Wayne Mackie, Warren, sent pictures of an August and autumnal phenomenon in The Valley and Vermont that is a harbinger of fall.

The pictures he sent capture what appears to be a giant lake of fog along the floor of The Valley early in the morning. That lake becomes a river as the sun rises and lifts the moisture up the hills where it engulfs homes on high ridges before burning off. Sure the science of it is interesting, but so is just watching it with a cup of coffee.

That phenomenon is a welcome sight this year, despite it signaling the advent of our very long and cold winter (and dark!). It’s made more welcome by the fact that it’s been getting cooler at night. And that’s a huge relief after what has been a blisteringly hot summer in the Green Mountains.

Vermont has seen record high temperatures this summer, day after day of temperatures well into the 80s and some bumping into the 90s. It’s been a summer where people slept in their basements to avoid the heat and where air conditioners sprouted in windows that had never seen them.

That’s not normal for us. Or, sadly, maybe it’s the new normal. To go with all that heat, we’ve seen very little rain this summer with stream flows in the Mad River consistently below seasonal norms as measured by the USGS stream gage on the river north of Moretown. (Not that climate change is real, or anything.)

Rain last weekend and this week was a welcome respite, along with cooler nights and the river of clouds that has marked the early mornings this week. The days are shortening and the leaves are already changing. Fall is around the corner and we’ll be skiing, snowshoeing and shoveling the deck in no time.

Stack your wood, put up your food and enjoy the river of fog that creeps along The Valley floor early in the morning, hiding views and hiding contours. Enjoy the harvest and sleeping without a fan on. Make an appointment to get your snow tires on.

It’s a fleeting and amazing time of the year that ushers in the glory of foliage season.