Last evening, I gathered on my deck with a group of friends celebrating the last weekend of summer as all good Marylanders do – with a couple dozen crabs, corn on the cob, and cold beer.
As it tends to do in September, it rained. At first it drizzled, sending wisps of steam skyward from the grill lid – beneath which we charred some burgers and sausages. Before too long, however, it started pouring and the wind began gusting. Our screened canopy did little to protect us from the chilly rain. The first cold shower of the season didn’t dampen our spirits even if it did drench our cloths. We simply gathered our crustaceans and went indoors.
Though we did not speak of it, we all knew – summer had come to an end.
This morning, I stepped out into the dawn and into a new season; unofficially, of course. According to the calendar, the first day of fall is September 23rd – another two and a half weeks away. But, the breeze that greeted me this morning and I know better. Fall is here.
I stood on my front porch breathing in the aromas of autumn. The pungent smell of Halloween – fallen leaves decomposing in the nearby park – was the first scent to arrest my sleepy nostrils. Behind it, the wind carried the fragrance of ripening apples and maturing pumpkins from the farms a few miles away. Oh yes, I thought, Thanksgiving is just 79 days away. When I closed my eyes and breathed very deeply, I could detect the perfume of Christmas, 109 days away, being swept along in artic air pushing down from the distant north. I pulled my sweater closed and suffered a sudden chill.
The sun rose later this morning and will set earlier – a reminder to us that she must move on and so must we. Like a mother weans a child, madam sun will wean us from her summer brilliance. Each day throughout autumn, she will provide less warmth until finally, during the winter months; she will provide just enough light to brighten our day but will withhold her heat from us.
Like children, we will whine. Where is the sun? Where is the warmth? It is too cold – we will cry. Hurry up summer – we will demand.
One day in late February, perhaps, or early March, I will step out onto my front porch, close my eyes and breathe in the promise of spring! Until then, I will appreciate the bounties of autumn, celebrate the holidays with family and friends, and appreciate the wonders of the changing seasons.