October, Half Over

     The subtle transition from summer into fall is finally complete. I know this because leaves are falling, temperatures are dropping and heavy sweatshirts and heavier jackets are replacing Hawaiian shirts and tank tops.

     People spent most of the month winding down from their last hurrahs of summer. Unseasonably warm September temperatures caught us off guard. We were looking the other way as the stealthy month of October crept in under the radar.

     Ever so slowly, summer clothes disappeared from dresser drawers. Shorts and t-shirts were sent off to six-month prison sentences in attic closets. Screen doors and air-conditioners were banished to the basement. In my own refrigerator, containers of cut up cantaloupe and honeydew melon have been replaced with apple crisps and peach-raspberry cobblers.

     The loss of early evening light leaves some chores undone. Instead of grilling outdoors there are gutters to be cleaned. Instead of leisurely strolls at dusk accompanied by cricket-chirping symphonies, people are indoors checking to make sure their fireplaces are clean enough for another season of sitting by the fire.

     I tried to make a conscious effort to enjoy every day in September, knowing full well the month always slips through my fingers like summer sand. I watched the green of the trees deepen as they reached their full potential. One day, unseen, the greens began their quiet metamorphosis into Autumn’s rainbow. I blinked and I missed it. Suddenly there is a patch of red here, a flash of orange there., and streaks of gold everywhere.

     Maybe I didn’t notice summer’s end because, until recently, temperatures have been on the mild side. I was lulled into thinking the warm stretch could last until the end of December without a hard freeze. We need to reap some kind of positive benefit from global warming. I’ll take an extended unseasonably warm fall season as a fair trade for melting polar ice caps. Come on, Mother Nature, toss New England a bone.

     Looking at my kitchen calendar with it’s scenic photo of fall foliage reflected in a crystal lake with two titanic diamond hoop earrings floating on the horizon (thank you Joseph Gann Jewelers), I cannot believe October is half over. The next column you read from me will be published on November 1st, just in time to start planning Thanksgiving dinner.

     Signs of fall morphed onto the landscape ever so slowly like a mirage solidifying into view. Every day another neighbor’s house displayed a new fall flag. Lawn furniture began disappearing from grass no longer needing to be cut. Scarecrows were multiplying, most noticeably in Andover where residents have an annual scarecrow decorating contest. All along Main Street in Andover Square, decorated scarecrows are tied to street lamps awaiting to be judged. Some look like they are waiting to cross the street if they are displayed near a crosswalk. Driving through the area in the early morning light, I slowed my car down to let one cross the street before I realized it was a contest entry and not a pedestrian.

    I held on to summer as long as I could. I kept a few short-sleeve shirts and a pair of short pants handy just in case a minor shift in the earth’s rotation keeps winter on the mild side. Unfortunately, the morning weather person informed me our 80 degree temperatures won’t be back any time soon. At home, my open windows are closed for the season, making my cat allergies intensify exponentially. Now my only breath of fresh air for the season comes from my albuterol inhaler. And with the rapid pace of life these days, I’m going to need to catch my breath.

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