Yearning for Autumn
It seems like yesterday when I was waiting for spring and then my waiting was sidetracked by the pandemic. It just seems like yesterday – it was not really yesterday.
It’s been nearly five months since those pre-pandemic days when life was normal and the upcoming days of springs resurgence of life, and rainbows of flowers flowing in warm spring breezes guided my daydreams.
Now I am restless and yearning for life to just be normal again. By the calendar, autumn is just over a month away. In any other normal year, I would be yearning for the cool crisp winds of autumn to carry in the frost on its breath and paint the leaves of the trees with the brilliant yellow, reds, and oranges – the resplendent landscape colors of fall painted by the hand of Mother Nature herself.
It’s been a long hot summer. Besides the pandemic, there seems to be something else not quite right about summer this year. When I was growing up our area averaged just one or two days when temperatures rose above 90° F. It seems to me when had a week of heatwave temperatures they were temperatures in the mid and upper 80’s.
My grandfather called them the “dog days of summer”.
We didn’t have air conditioning in our house. Cars didn’t come with A/C – at least none of the cars my parents or grandparents could afford.
I can remember my grandparents taking me to a movie on those dog days of summer because the movie theatre was air-conditioned. And back in those days, double-features were common – so we’d be able to stay “in the cool” for hours.
Looking back, I wonder why we even bothered. When we left the theatre the hot seemed even hotter.
My grandparents were old then, but not as old as I am now. Funny how time changes your perspective of age.
Somehow we managed to live through the heatwaves and the dog days – even it if meant sleeping downstairs on the living room carpet to stay cooler. To me, as a child, it was like camping out – it was fun. To my grandparents, I’m sure it was a time of considerable discomfort – I can’t imagine sleeping on the floor at my age.
Back in those days, in our neck of the wood, we’d have, on average, two or three really hot days – the dog days – every summer. This year we’ve already had twenty days over 90 and, according to forecast, we’ve got five more coming up at the end of this week.
My house is air-conditioned and so is my car, so I don’t have to go watch some awful movies just to escape the heat, but something isn’t right. The number of 90 and 90+ degree days has increased by over 700% since 1968. Global warming? Who knows? But you will never get me to engage in that political hot potato. Our world has enough political and medical strife without me adding to it.
With the 90+ degree days piling up and with the pandemic raging on, is it any wonder that I’m yearning for autumn? And don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of winter. The one bad thing I can think of about autumn is that it is followed by winter – the season of bitter winds and brittle, creaking skeleton trees.
Yet, this autumn may bring with it untenable suffering and grief. Some say it will and some say it won’t. No one knows. But some schools that have opened already are closing as the school children become infected with COVID-19.
There is nothing we can do but wait and see what happens when the seasonal flu and the coronavirus circulate simultaneously. It could be a catastrophe or we might get lucky. I can’t change what is going to happen – I do hope we get lucky.
I will continue to yearn for autumn days with their bright and cool winds to come and loosen summer’s grip on us all. Summer will die someday amid the brilliantly painted forests and then just for a brief and shining moment, autumn will rule my world.
I promise to make the most of it. Autumn does not last long. I look forward to walking though the painted woods, listening to the sounds of autumn – crunching through the bright and beautiful fallen leaves, breathing the sweet and cool autumnal air.
I pray that the pandemic dies and the world gets back to normal. I want to be sitting here in mid-February yearning for spring and its soft, warm winds, and kids flying kites. I hope that some mid-February day, that, somehow, the world has gotten itself back to normal and the only thing I have to worry about is that the last brutal snowstorm of winter before spring takes the life out of icy lingering winter.
Today is another hot and sunny day in what now seems to be a never-ending string of hot and sunny days. Today, I am yearning for autumn… and praying the world gets back to normal soon.