The fall of summer 

The calendar says autumn doesn’t arrive until Sept. 23, but I’m not going to fall for that.

Summer is gone. It’s a memory, as dead as Abe Lincoln in a Studebaker parked outside a Blockbuster.

Mark Twain didn’t really say “Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.” But the great American humorist did comment on the conditions several times.

“Yes, the weather is bad, and if I were dealing in weather it is not the brand that I’d put up in cans for future use,” he said. “No, it is the kind of weather I’d throw on the market and let it go for what it would fetch, and if it wouldn’t sell for anything I would hunt up some life-long enemy and present it to him.”

There are three classification of the seasons. There are astronomical seasons, which use solar equinoxes and solstices to set the dates. The fall equinox arrives at 2:50 a.m. Monday, Sept. 23. That is the first moment of fall, under this system. There is the meteorological — some call it climatological — method, which groups each season by three months. Fall is September, October and November in the northern hemisphere.

No matter what you call it, I hope it sticks around for as long as possible. The forecast from the Old Farmers Almanac, predicting a very cold, snowy winter, cast a chill over me. Let’s hope the Old Farmer, who boasts an 80 percent accuracy rate, is off his rocker this time. You hear weathermen on TV refer to these seasons when they make their guesses on what it will be like outside tomorrow. Spoiler alert: If it’s KELO, expect a forecast of a major storm.

The seasons don’t adhere to such strict guidelines. There are 70-degree days in November and February, and cold and wet summer days. It just seems like there are more and more days that don’t fit into the longtime patterns.

We enjoyed a hot summer, filled with days in the upper 80s and 90s. I don’t enjoy the heat as much as I did when I was younger, but I am still glad it’s warm outside. It just feels better on aging bones, and if the humidity isn’t too intense, the nights often are beautiful.

Plus, we all know what is headed our way. Even on a 100-degree day, we recall the icy hand of winter trying to force its way into our homes, our cars, our lives.

But summer seemed to slip away in the middle of August. Suddenly, the nights were much cooler, and the highs were in the 70s and low 80s. While the calendar said summer had a month to do, it felt like football weather, time for sweaters and chili, hot chocolate and bonfires.

Autumn is many people’s favorite season and I am a fall fan as well. The baseball playoff races heat up as the days cool down and the football season kicks off in a blaze of color. Trees dazzle us with explosions of red, orange and yellow, although nature’s magnificent autumnal display never lasts long enough. But I would prefer fall wait until the middle of September. Let us enjoy a few more days of summer before rushing toward fall and then the frozen months of winter.

The winter of 2018-19 is etched on my memory for its dogged persistence. Snow was recorded in eight consecutive months, from October to May. That’s just not right in any sense. Some years we are cheered up — and hopefully warmed up — when February arrives. Baseball players report for spring training, the days grow longer during the shortest month of the year and spring is scheduled to arrive in March under both systems.

But last winter, we were just getting started. February and March were brutal months, with heavy snow and intense cold. April also didn’t live up to its reputation, as we endured snow, intense rains and bitter cold. It felt like we were being cheated.

Now, as fall settles in, we can only hope for a long, pleasant stretch. Some falls provide that, with bright sun and crisp but enjoyable evenings. Other years, winter forces its way in far too early and we are entombed in snow, ice and darkness for half the year.

Mr. Twain knew all about that, saying this to a friend, “Cold! If the thermometer had been an inch longer we’d all have frozen to death.”

We need a short thermometer and a long fall.

To read all of today's stories, Click here or call 642-2761 to subscribe to our e-edition or home delivery.


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.