Gloom, Dispair And Agony On Me
Walked into the office this morning to confront one of my worst nightmares - the SAG Exec had taken the coffee maker last night for an off-site meeting - AND FAILED TO RETURN IT!!!
I have been reduced to consuming a can of Coca Cola to alleviate symptoms of imminent caffeine withdrawal.
Otherwise, things up here are same-old-same-old. We're well into what passes around these parts for the "dog days" of summer; now in our third consecutive week of temps in the upper 70's/lower 80's. I realize that's nothing compared to the heat-wave drying out other parts of the country, but it's the sheer monotony that has people wandering around, grumbling about the lack of rainfall. We're nowhere close to drought conditions, but being the environmentally cognizant bunch we are, lawns across the city lie sere and parched, grass withers to the color of hay from lack of watering, while fruit trees and berry bushes meanwhile suck the few precious drops of moisture from the ground to sustain their almost obscene productivity.
The plum tree outside my apartment door for example, is literally dropping fruit with an alarming abundance; even the local critters seem to have had their fill, and are now avoiding the fallen cornucopea of juicy droplets with outright disdain. My friends politely pluck one or two offerings from the overflowing plastic bags I foist upon them at every opportunity, but I can tell they're quickly approaching the point where they may begin to view them, not as edibles, but rather ammunition with which to pelt me. My refigerator is sagging under the weight of cobblers, freezer jams, sauces, and whatever other recipes I can come up with to reduce the seemingly infinite bounty. I have bowls, bags, boxes, even egg crates filled to overflowing with the plump purple ovoids. Every morning I leave for work kicking aside the previous night's fallen soldiers; each evening I return, only to find a new battalian of the struck down littering my path.
And this doesn't even take into account the Japanese pear tree, which is just now starting to release its progeny. At least it'll be a change of variety.
Still, despite the overwhelming evidence of fecundity all around, we've reached that point in the year when we can tell summer has peaked out, and begun its slow, downslope march toward the southern tropics, and before winter arrives for an extended stay, bringing with it seven months of gloom and drizzle (Fall, traditionally of only about two weeks duration around here, rarely counts as a full-fledged season). Usually, we start marking the days in early August with the region's annual Seafair celebrations, culmination of our Summer season. If we're lucky (and depending on the vagaries of Global Warming), we might be able to look forward to an extended "Indian Summer" lasting well into October, so we're not counting summer down-for-the-count quite yet. But, this morning is one that brings just the faintest hint of what's to come: a light, gray overcast, just enough to drop the morning temps a few degrees, and diffuse the sunlight enough to act as a reminder, like Winter has just sent us a postcard from Belize saying, "Having a wonderful time, wish you were here! See you soon!"
Yes, Summer has begun a slow, meandering jaunt south, but it's not in any hurry. Walking stick in hand, haversack slung over its back, it's hitting the trail with a spring in its step, and whistling a made-up tune. It'll take time to stop and smell the flowers, admire the views, and perhaps even pick a berry or two; somewhere about the end of September, Fall will rush past on its ten-speed, head down to break the wind, as it speeds North to deliver its messenger bag full of brown leaves and pumpkin seeds.
Then, round about early November, Summer will spot a wheelbarrow-laden Winter approaching in the distance, slogging along through the muck and mud, tattered, wind-sprung umbrella draped over one arm, shaking the wet from its beard like a dog just after swimming. Summer will tip its wide-brimmed Panama hat in greeting, while Winter will simply nod in response, burdened down with effort of pushing its cart-load of gray wool felt clouds, and the sloshing buckets of precipitation in which it intends to soak them. They don't need to speak much; they've crossed paths more times than they can count, and by now the conversation has been distilled to a few looks, nods and the barest grunt of a greeting, like two shift-men passing through the factory gate.
Yep, just about time for Summer to punch-out and Winter to punch-in.
But, before they do, there's time for one more cup of coffee - which thankfully, has just arrived.
on 9:42 AM