Tuesday, August 26, 2014

An ode to autumn or go to hell, fall

A cool northeast breeze fluttered across the terra cotta red plastic tray today as I ate my lunch alongside Scott County 42 at the Savage Taco John's restaurant. I saw plenty of people whom I assumed would normally be wearing shorts to be wearing jeans instead. While the calendar says Tuesday, August 26 there was definitely a hint of mid-October in the air.

It dawned on me when I found that first yellow maple leaf lodged in my new aluminum rain gutters while installing getter screens late Sunday afternoon. Fall is drawing near. School supplies have taken over the areas in stores once dominated by patio sets and gas grills and gardens everywhere are running over with the late summer bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. It's even more obvious when I am reminded of the fact that my daughter begins kindergarten in a mere seven days. Fall will soon be completely upon us.

We will spend Saturday afternoons raking and bagging leaves from the trees that shaded us from summer's glaring sun. We will make one last mad dash to harvest every tender vegetable from our garden when the weather forecast predicts autumn's first nip of frost. We'll spend an afternoon picking apples or selecting the perfect pumpkins as we prepare for Halloween. You'll grab a light jacket as you run out the door in the morning. It happens slowly until you realize, one day, that the trees are bare and the lawn has stopped growing. The sun now sets shortly after 8 PM in the evening when six weeks ago there was daylight until well after 9 PM.

Autumn creeps into our consciousness like the ninja of seasons. Not like spring which seems to just happen one day when you look outside and realize that it's 50 degrees and all of the snow and ice is miraculously gone. Autumn is full of brilliant colors, cool breezes and shorter days until you look around one day and all that's left is brown. It catches you off guard. It could be 90 degrees one day and the next could be full of chilly rain showers with the occasional snow flurry. But we expect it because we know that by the end of November we will be donning thick jackets and likely shoveling some snow off of our paths.

Autumn is coming. Until then, though, it can go to hell because we were cursed with yet another lengthy winter, a downright cold and wet spring and a cooler-than-normal summer marked with floods, mosquitoes and more gnats than I care to remember. May our September be hot enough where school children have to wear shorts every day of the week and may October last until Christmas!

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