Monday, August 31, 2009

Summer into fall

August 31, 2009

The humidity has decreased and the door doesn’t stick any more. It opens relatively easy – you don’t have to fight it. An analogy, yes, for summer going into fall in these parts, the increasingly humid Northeast.

Once upon a time, although it was no fairy tale, we had hot and humid summers, with the wetness peaking in August but the cooler nights making that bearable. Now, because of whatever – climate change or just the passage of time on an ever-aging earth – there seems to be more humidity in my section of the land. In years past, you only occasionally spotted mold on the north side of a building, and now it is common, a sure sign that Georgia weather likes to pay a visit, and to linger a spell.

But now, on the eve of fall’s September, the door opens with a bit of ease – not complete ease – but without a struggle. Some trees have dropped their leaves and the air has lighter smells, no longer masked by humidity or one scent held suspended, as has been the case this summer with the smoke from evening open-pit barbecues.

(They are the rage here, with huge pits crafted in backyard cement or bought ready-made from the home improvement store, holding mesquite and other seasoned woods, lit and roared up to a great fire upon which slabs of meat are thrown in a ritual that may hark back to the primitive but which now is so, so suburban. The rest of us have to endure the lingering smoke and food smell.)

As the nose of summer fades, the door is opening to the promise of fall – crispness, a warm coat, walks in the leaves that take me back to youthful memories, shorter days and the coziness of that and the greater quiet in my suburbia.

Yes, this is leave-taking of the summer, in this year’s instance, an unusually cool season. Swimming was oft-denied, as was sunbathing and general appreciation of the hot weather. I am sorry sun lovers never got their fill, and I apologize for wishing their time to be gone. They would gladly wrestle the stuck door in exchange for summer’s fun.

But never having been a sun baby, and always looking for the quiet, I anticipate fall’s reappearance. That season is never the same, of course, but the constants of smell, some chill, and the offer of solitude to the individual in his or her walks are there, and I welcome my old friend.