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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Fall

The "official" end of summer is Labor Day, but the actual end of summer isn't for a few more weeks. By my calendar, at least.

Some call this time "Indian summer" with its cool nights and chilly mornings and temperatures during the day that can soar to the mid to high 70s. Some of the leaves on the Oak Tree across the street are starting to "turn."

It's sometimes hard to figure out what to wear when you leave the house in the morning, so I tend to dress in layers. I love wearing a sleeveless summer shirt with a light sweater. Makes me feel like I've got the best of both seasons.

It's my favorite time of year.

The AC is off. The windows are open. There's an absolutely delicious breeze coming, causing the slats on the thin blinds on my window to make that occasional "rattle" sound, which immediately takes me back to the bedroom of my youth.

There were "venetian blinds" on my window. Remember them? Big, fat, wide tin slats, coated with white paint.

As a child, I loved to say the words, "Venetian Blind." It sounded mystical and magical to my ears. I used to dream of one day going to Venice to see the original blinds on the windows from my Gondola.

Sometimes, I would whisper it like a prayer, "Venetian Blind," hoping against hope that God would hear me and provide a way for me to visit that wonderful place.

I loved the twice-daily ritual of "pulling the blinds closed" every night, and "pulling them open" every morning. It gave an order to the day, punctuating the beginning and the end in a way that was unmistakable.

I find myself keeping that little ritual every day. I sometimes find that I can't sleep until I pull the blinds closed. The day won't get off to a good start unless I pull them open in the morning.

So, too, with the changing of the seasons. Don't get me wrong, I'm a summer kinda gal. I love the hot weather. I even love the humidity. Well, what I love most is to kvetch about the humidity.

But, there's something wonderful about being in the North East Corridor for the beginning of each change of the four seasons we enjoy.

It's odd but, for me, there's a wonderful sense of security in the change.

It's a little like God pulling the blinds closed or open four times a year.


Jeff @ James Hill said...

We in the South see things differently. It's still Summer here.
Today will be the first day with the highs only in the 80's. It was a nice 63 this morning, which is definitely better than the mid 70's starts we usually have.
For us, Indian Summer is that period in late October-Early November when the temperature reheats and we complain about the temp being in the 70's.
I visited Durham, UK in July. The folks there said that we Alabamans brought HOT weather with us. The entire week there the temps began at a cool 55-60 and never got above 82. (AND, it never rained that week).
If I could afford to live in England I would SOOO move there. To complain about temps in the 80's in July, as opposed to the low 100's would be nice.
It all goes to show though, perception of normal is with the person responding.

We've had a bit of rain during the Summer here, so I'm hoping that we have a color show in the Autumn. I've missed seeing that the last several years.

Thanks Elizabeth! I love to keep up with the goings on in your world. You never cease to inspire me.

Kirkepiscatoid said...

I love living in a place with four seasons (although you folks in the NE corridor might think the 4 seasons in Missouri are "nasty wetness" and "hot as hell" interspersed with two intervening weeks each of "kinda cool and nice.") But it certainly reminds me I would not want to live in the tropics!

altar ego said...

As a transplanted Yankee now in Tennessee I miss dearly the crisp transition to fall (and winter). After ten years I'm still not used to daffodils in February! Thank you for allowing me to ride along on your yourney of remembrance, and recall my own special memories of a New England fall.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Jeff - I love the South. I really, truly do. I love the stories - oh there ain't none better than a Southerner to tell a good story. But (and you knew this was coming), as much as I would love to, I couldn't live there.

It's not just the heat or the humidity. It's just that there's not much change. In the weather or much else, in my experience. People's attitudes about "the natural order of things" mostly.

Pulls my last, poor tired nerve.

Thanks so much for your kind words.

Kirki - Isn't Missouri one of those places that has an extended "Mud Season"? Or is that just Maine and Vermont?

Minnesota, I understand, has two seasons: Winter and Road Repair.

Altar - come visit anytime. This is the beginning of the "Flashy Season" when the trees abosolutely riot about the end of summer and the beginning of winter. Y'all come and find that Northern Hospitality is every bit as generous as the folks in the South. We just don't serve Ice Tea with a sprig of Mint all year round, is all.

Jim said...

In Chicago, we have an "official" definition of "Indian Summer" courtesy of the late John Coleman (founder of the Weather Channel.) He said it was the period of clear warm weather after the first frost. Some years we get it, some years we do not.

Generally we do not see a first frost until mid October at the earliest. But the warm clear days when the leaves turn after that frost are my favorite time to be here.


Kirkepiscatoid said...

Oh yes, we have two mud seasons, a winter one and a spring one--especially in the north half of the state.

Winter mud season is because we might get a foot of snow but it only stays 3 or for days then temp goes up to 50 for a day and we get mud followed by -10 temps and frozen mud. Repeat all winter with freezing and re-freezing, deepening of mud. See some of my posts from early 2008 for a better feel of it. Winter mud season was so bad this year, my vicar called me every Sunday afternoon to see "if I'd made it home ok to my place in the country!" (Bless his heart, that is why I love the guy and put up with those silly-assed quirks you "collared people" get...big wink)

Spring mud season is after spring rains, usually followed by July/August burnout drought. This year is highly unusual b/c of the unusually cool wet summer, spring mud season is lasting clear till fall this year.

Actually, we have more than four seasons when you get down to it...four plus two mud seasons plus "mosquito season" plus "orange construction barrel season" (The Missouri state flower is the orange highway construction barrel) but these eight seasons kind of overlap...