The Harbinger of Autumn
When I was young, I made a seemingly weird discovery. I realized that after weeks of hot, humid summer days, a huge thunderstorm would tear through (generally with accompanying tornados) and it would suddenly be cool and never as hot again. (I’m sure there is a meteorological reason for this, but when you’re a kid it’s magic.) The dog days of Summer would be over, regardless of the date, never to return.
Some years would be more dramatic than others, but there was always that last thunderstorm, the harbinger of Autumn.
To people who live in the South, that’s a happy thing, an end to sweating and hiding inside with the air conditioning. Those of us from the North, looking at months of winter snows, not so much. It’s taken 15 years, but I no longer fear the oncoming Autumn. I can actually appreciate it for its own sake now.
Most Exciting Board Meeting Ever
So, last week, during a Board Meeting at the Historic Ramsey House, the sky turned black when it should be light, the rain fell sideways in rippling banners and the Midwestern alarm bells went off in my head. I encouraged the group to saunter (move very, very quickly) away from the windows of the Boardroom and into the inner, windowless hallway and Education Room. I don’t know if it was a small tornado, micro-burst or just a very unhappy cloud, but it took out some very large, very numerous trees in a very localized area. Trees fell all around us yet oddly, not a single branch hit the 222 year-old historic home. Getting home in the dark was fun what with power outages and trees in the road. The poor Executive Director had to park at the Dollar General on the corner and walk home.
Well, Isn’t that Odd
I’ve noticed something funny since then, which made me remember the observations of my youth. The months of 90+ days with 100+ heat indexes have become highs of 75. The weeks of scorching sun and no rainfall have become cool, cloudy mist-filled days. The geese are grouping up and heading out (in spite of my pleas to come back.) The fireflies and cicadas seem to have a desperation to their courting routines. (It’s now or never, baby) The intense Smoky Mountain emerald green forests are turning shades of yellow and red and littering my driveway with their tears. (Okay, the tears might be mine, but whatever.)
Was all of this happening last week before the storm? Probably. But it’s hard to get serious about Fall when you are hot and sweaty and sticking to the seat of your car. Fall means business now, and Summer just got kicked to the curb.
Will there be more 90+ days? Of course, this is Tennessee after all. It wouldn’t be a Vols game unless you were melting in the sun. But we all know now that the heat is not to be taken seriously. I’ll still be found at the pool in the upcoming weeks. But the Earth and the constant commercial barrages of PSL’s (Pumpkin Spice Lattes for those of you living on Mars) are heralding the coming seasonal change whether we are ready or not. (Honestly, I am not. I never am. Ever.)
I know in my heart I will enjoy the lattes, and the pumpkin picking and the beautiful colors and the warm, cozy hygge feeling of all things Autumnal. But I still feel the need to mourn the Summer’s passing, all the same. Some things are just harder to let go than others. And for me, Summer is one of the hardest.