Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Fall of the Autumn Empire

I'm about ready to put autumn on a milk carton.

"HAVE YOU SEEN ME?"

You remember autumn, don't you? Fall? That once-lovely season wedged between summer and winter, like a crutch that we know can't possibly last but we're happy to use it as long as we can, anyway.

Fall---with its once-crisp, sunny days and crunchy leaves beneath your feet, the subtle smell of someone burning them, not too far away.

Fall---when you get into your car after it's been under the sun and turn on the A/C, only to have to turn the heat on the next morning when you hop in.

What's all this about global warming?

And who is the bloody Brit who moved here and brought his weather along with him?

Or maybe the invader came from our left flank, from Seattle. Maybe a Starbucks wonk?

Regardless, this is the worst fall on record in Michigan, nudging out last year's, which surpassed the year's prior to that.

In fact, where have any of our seasons gone? We used to have four of them in this state, you know. And they used to be dilineated. Now, they sort of run into each other. The only discernible one is winter, that Old Man who can't help but be the snow white elephant in the room.

Back in the day, I loathed the end of summer, but I was happy to see it followed by fall---and not just because of football. Mostly I liked the crispness---those days with highs in the 60s and lows in the upper-40s. Sunshine and blue sky for as far as you can see. The air was intoxicating.

Football, yes, but also cider mills and caramel apples and the brilliant colors.


Remember THIS?

Raking, I wasn't so fond of, but now we live in Madison Heights and they just let you dump the leaves into the street, a foot or so away from the curb. Funny how Warren wasn't able to purchase any of those leaf-sucking gizmos. Huh.

But today?

The sun shows itself around these parts as if it's just passing through, always with somewhere else to go. It teases us but then looks at its watch and says, "Sorry, gotta run!" and its dorky, dreary companion babysits us.

This thing of overcast skies, seemingly constant dampness and tiny windows inside which you're allowed to clear your lawn of leaves is getting old and we're not even out of October yet.

I don't know what's happened to autumn but this ain't what I remember from even four, five years ago.

And it's following a summer that wasn't really anything to write home about, either---though I didn't miss the 90 degree days all that much. Still, too much rain. To me.

And while you're at it, let me know if you see spring. I miss it, as well. But that's a whole other rant.

I'm not unreasonable here. I know there's going to be some rain during fall. I know the sun can't be out all the time. But the amount of time we spend drenched in sunshine seems to be dwindling every autumn, while the hours where squinting isn't required are starting to pile up.

Just call us London West. Or Seattle East.

Rain keeps dripping into my cup of cider and it's making me cranky.

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