Obligatory Autumn Observations

By Beacon Staff

Fall is here. The tiles of the bathroom floor are getting much colder in the morning – that’s how you tell. I kept the windows closed last night; this morning the bedroom was quiet and warm. The Harleys and trucks lacking mufflers rattling up the street don’t have the power to bolt me out of bed like they have all summer. The leaves on the trees are growing brittle; many already swirl on the sidewalk, waiting for the street sweeper. I actually had a conversation with my parents about plans for the holidays. Dark beers like Guinness are beginning to look more appealing with the cooler weather, and I find myself less hungry for salads and more interested in stews and soups. You can still get apricots, but I look forward to apples.

Alarmingly, the box stores have already rolled out their Halloween displays, a garden of orange cellophane where the rubber masks of politicians are way more frightening than any witch or vampire. If I were smart, I would buy the candy now, while it’s cheap, and not wait until Halloween night, when the only candy left on the aisles are circus peanuts and ancient Tootsie Rolls.

A young mother, the wife of one of my co-workers, described the singular joy of dropping her oldest son off for the first day of school. Other parents were sobbing from the pangs of separation, but she was elated and pragmatic – she had two younger boys to look after.

I’m not a parent or a farmer, so the agrarian calendar and the academic calendar that follows it don’t affect me the way they do others. But as a reporter, August is a month of desperation. Stories – with the exception of wildfires – are hard to dig up; everyone is on vacation, no one returns your call. In the newsroom we look forward to the heat-induced lethargy of late summer shaking off of people, for folks to start really doing stuff again, so we can cover it.

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