Fall will be our focus for the foreseeable future. With so much to do, the season sneaks up on us disguised as a summer afternoon that lulls us into believing that cool nights and warm days could last forever.
Gangs of tomatoes cling to the vines as if they paid a bit extra to be allowed a late checkout from the garden room. Cucumbers double in size overnight, and carrot tops push up through the soil, forcing us to make a command decision on whether they are quite big enough to harvest. Some surprise us with their depth. Others are merely show-offs. Big heads with shallow roots, like some of the people we encounter daily. Once combined with all the other carrots, they still make a pleasant addition to our larder.
A late summer afternoon drive back from the coast introduced me to a mild case of early dusk this past Sunday afternoon. I sensed newfound shadows were overwhelming my lumbering Ford pickup. While I could see breaks of sun off in the distance—and in my rearview mirror— the shallow angle of light allowed the roadside trees to block the sunshine’s access to the cab of my truck.
At a time of day when the sun’s powerful beams should have been overwhelming my Ray-Bans, the automatically illuminating headlamps popped on. The dash lights went suddenly dim as if to send me a cryptic message that we were close to the change in seasons. It was only 5:45.
I’d received my warnings, but I hadn’t collected them and placed them into some reasonable order inside my head.
I’d thrown on a sweatshirt for an early morning walk with the dog. I found myself closing the windows to rid the house of a slight chill, and my breath was suddenly something to be seen, and not just heard, when I walked up the gravel hill to the gate where we always turn to head back down to the cabin.
Harbingers surrounded ol’ TC, but the summer was pleasant enough to make me want to cling to it a bit longer. The sudden dimming of the dash lights caught my attention. Slightly arched eyebrows sheltered my peepers as I perused the fading dash display while struggling to see who was playing on Sirius/XM.
Fall officially showed up today at 3:22 pm. While you won’t hear me touting the magic of pumpkin spice, I will relish the sight of red cheeks on children, the slowing growth of front lawns, and the free cleansing of overnight condensation on my windshield each morning. Soon it will be a frost, but I’ll enjoy it in liquid form for a few months.
Instead of letting the television pundits drag me down, I’ll look forward to picking apples, kids dressed as pumpkins, and my resident runny nose during October partridge hunts.
I choose to focus not on the dark news of the world’s condition but instead on the smile of a small child who picked her best carrot on the perfect sunny autumn afternoon.
That’s just me. I’m a fall guy.
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