James Werrell

Fall is around the corner but don’t rush it

OK, I get it, Labor Day is the official end of summer. Still, I intend to enjoy the tattered remnants of the season for as long as possible.

We are press-ganged into autumn. It’s back-to-school time; football preseason dominates the sports news; the clothing catalogs show us models in sweaters and parkas.

But has anyone noticed that it’s still about 88 degrees outside? Am I the only one who wants to cling to summer?

Fall is fine – except for the fact that it precedes winter. I forgive anyone, weary of August heat, who yearns to slip into fall, to feel the first forebodings of frost, to witness once again the decadent decay of changing leaves, to sniff the salty, pungent night air.

But don’t rush it. Those days will arrive soon enough.

We’ve had an exceptional summer this year, rarely hot enough to make us pant and sizzle, forcing us to crawl back into our icy air-conditioned cocoons. Sure, it was really hot now and then but still porch-sitting hot, as long as the fan was turning.

And if we were sitting on the porch, the hummingbirds, chickadees and the cicada music distracted us from the heat. That and a gin and tonic.

This summer, it seems, had more than its share of crystalline blue skies the shade of a tropical lagoon, no clouds anywhere. And, despite encroaching drought, things have stayed relatively green, green enough to hold at bay that brittle, tawny dryness that sometimes saps the fun from summer’s end.

The seasons change, and there’s not much we can do about it – unless we have a personal jet and enough stock options to flit around the world searching for the weather we want no matter what season it is. Would I do that if I could? Of course, in a heartbeat. Who hasn’t fantasized about Maine in the summer and Aruba in the winter with occasional forays to Colorado for the snow and mountains, and Ireland for the mist and Guinness?

But most of us can’t globe trot at will. We have to stay put, making the most of whatever the seasons deliver, thankful for the good days, determined to endure the worst.

And autumn, although it is a more serious season, has ample enticements. But, as noted, it will arrive in good time.

Meanwhile, if you disregard the campaign to turn the pages of the calendar too quickly, a wisp of summer remains. Time enough for another G&T while grilling a thick ribeye, listening as the katydids and tree frogs take over for the cicadas, and watching the bats emerge in the dusk.

Store the moment in your cellar of memories. It’s likely to come in handy in February.

James Werrell, Herald opinion page editor, can be reached at 329-4081 or, by email, at jwerrell@heraldonline.com.