The Days Dwindle Down To A Precious Few
(with apologies to Our Man In La Conner)
Autumn has arrived here in the Upper Left Hand Corner with unambiguous intent, something of a rarity in these parts where traditionally the transition from Summer to Winter can be marked on the calendar within the span of a few weeks. This year, however, the prospect for a not untypical Indian Summer seems to diminish with each passing day. Around my place the trees are shedding at a ferocious rate, not even bothering to scratch off the chlorophyl from the leaves before letting them litter the sidewalks like losing Lotto tickets outside a 7-Eleven on payday.
When I leave for work these mornings, my street is filled with the urban-warfare sounds of Nature's Insurgency: the paint chipping reports of hazelnuts, acorns, and chestnuts riccocheting off the roofs and hoods of parked cars echo down the street, while platoons of squirrels patrol the sidewalks and gutters gathering up the spent shells with the forensic thoroughness of a CSI team. My breath, not quite yet visible in the early morning air is scented with the acrid chill of biting into a cold, ripe apple. The sky is gradually shifting from a uniform Light Ultramarine Blue to a mottled patchwork of Neutral Grays, the kind of sky Northwest writer Tom Robbins likened to "a brain. Moist, gray, convoluted". If so, it's a brain thinking dark, ominous thoughts, devising cruel strategems for its seven month campaign against the forces of light and warmth.
Meanwhile, the cowardly sun is snowbirding south along with the RV's and the summer tourists, leaving the rest of us to face the increasing darkness, damp and dropping temperatures with our customary Norse stoicism. For those newcomers of six or seven years who still have yet to acclimatize, increasing incidents of suicide, binge drinking, and Xanax abuse will surely follow, like phosphorescent plankton in the wake of an oil tanker. Sweaters are being pulled from bottom drawers and shaken out, reluctantly trading places with shorts and tank-tops. Umbrellas are calling "All in free!" from their hiding places in the backs of closets and forgotten corners of mudrooms; gloves, scarves and knit caps are sleepily asking for "just five more minutes!", while rubber boots and GoreTex jackets hit the snooze button with futile abandon, in hopes of delaying the inevitable.
Winter is waiting in the wings, ready for its entrance, mentally going over its lines for the next scene. Summer has begrudgingly roused itself from the settee, and gone out through the French doors, exiting Stage Left. Autmn is nervously shifting from one foot to the other, waiting for the Stage Manager to feed it a cue line. The play continues, but the Act has almost come to a close, and the lights are already starting to dim on the fake backdrops and painted scenery.
Cue 37, go.
on 12:02 PM