Sunday, August 23, 2009

Can Autumn Be Far Behind?

Within the last few days, an unusual cool spell has settled over the St. Louis region. It has brought with it clear, blue skies often filled with white puffy clouds. Breezes have swept through bring refreshingly drier air to the region. The days, now noticeably shorter in length, are beginning to lend themselves to the season that is just around the corner: autumn.

I love the fall of the year. It's crisp days and chilly nights seems to bring a new sense of energy to me. It seems that the sky is bluer in the fall than at any other time of the year. The rustling of the drying, colorful leaves above in the canopy of trees brings a sense that something special is ending if only for a short time. Life begins to wind down. Birds begin eating more to build up fat reserves to endure the winter ahead. Furry creatures scurry about gathering the abundant seeds from the year's growth to store for the long season awaiting us all. Flocks of geese and ducks pass overhead destined for warmer climes in the south. But animals and nature are not the only ones preparing for the change.

We humans begin to transition. Our thoughts begin to turn to the season ahead in anticipation of another cycle of time that we may have lived through for many years. School resumes. Old friendships and new ones as well are engaged. Even our menus begin to change, albeit subtly, to heavier more substantial offerings. We look to the near future and seem to be surprised every year that we are so close to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Football becomes king of the sports world even though the boys of summer have their season to finish. Hot apple cider replaces iced tea. We all prepare for the coming months of cooler temperatures and longer periods of darkness.

But most of all, what I like about fall the most, are the changing colors. The trees dazzle the eyes. Green bushes that have gone unnoticed in countless yards suddenly burst into the brightest of reds. As the leaves begin to shower down around us, we may actually take a few moments to notice them even more closely than in previous months because of the intricate patterns the colors of fall have brought out in them. Suddenly a walk in the park or on a trail somewhere in the country seems inviting whereas only a few weeks before, in the heat of summer, the thought of a walk in the heat and humidity was repulsive. It is, indeed, a magical time of the year.

Soon, all of these things will become a reality. I also know that summer heat will return because it still is, after all, August in St. Louis. But there is shinning hope on the horizon. Each unseasonably cool day is one less day of oppressive heat we must endure before the cooling balm we call Autumn sets in. May Autumn's arrival be swift and its stay be lengthy!