I'll Trade You This Pair Of Sunglasses For Your Wool Mittens
The TV weather forecasters are loathe to report it, but I have it on good authority that, for all intents-and-purposes -- summer is officially over here in the Upper Left-Hand Corner. The sun still occasionally makes a few paltry attempts at showing up, like that distant relative whom you haven't seen at family renunions in 20 years, who always writes promising to put in an appearance next time around, but generally the result has been pathetically ineffectual.
In the past two weeks our daytime temps have plummeted from the low-to-mid 80's down to the lower 60's, mornings are increasingly dark, grey, damp and blustery, and the nights are starting to chill down to near refrigeration levels. There are still a few cockeyed optimists strolling through the early a.m. gloom and drizzle wearing shorts and T-shirts, but the rest of us aren't fooled by their forced cheerfulness. "We'll get a nice Indian Summer!" their pitiful attempts shout, but we all know it's a doomed proposition, like expecting the White Sox to ever win another World Series.
No, the rest of us aren't fooled in the least. We're pulling the sweaters out of storage, turning up the thermostats, spraying the heavy jackets with water repellent, searching through drawers for gloves, scarves and knit hats, wondering if we should invest in that full-spectrum sun lamp. We know Winter is coming. We can smell it in the air like a bloodhound scents its quary.
At some point in the next few weeks we'll get a bit of a break, a sultry, burlesque tease courtesy of Summer Past, just enough to feel the heat of the sun warm cheeks already windburned the color of ripe cherries. If we're lucky this will be followed by a week or two of what in other locales might be recognized as Fall: the evening air will get as crisp and brittle as a saltine cracker; the leaves will begin to turn from lush green to mottled orange. Then, right around the end of October we'll be plunged into another six months of perpetual, drizzly twilight.
The sweet summer smells of mint, strawberry and honey are already being replaced by the savory aromas of curry, tumeric, and nutmeg. Soups and stews are beginning to bubble away in crock pots like pre-Cambrian lava pools. Bodies honed to razor sveltness by months of outdoor activities will soon soften and swell like Thanksgiving parade balloons under gradually increasing layers of wool, polar-fleece and gore-tex. Mounds of buttery popcorn paperback techno-thrillers will be pushed aside in favor of dense, meaty hardbound volumes written by dour Russians and verbose Brits. Bar-B-Que utensils will be shoved to the backs of drawers, while pumpkin carving implements will be placed at the ready.
If you go by the calendar of course, Winter isn't officially expected in these parts for more than three months, but up here we know the futility of relying on arbitrary, man-made systems of seasonal reckoning. Winter makes her own vacation plans, she books her own flight itinerary, and tends to arrive before you've had a chance to put fresh sheets on the guest bed. So, we're preparing now, in expectation of the moment when she presses the buzzer with her icecicle-thin finger, when we'll welcome her in with bright Jack-O-Lantern light, a warm fire, and a hot cup of cocoa.
on 9:09 AM