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“Change, my dear. And it seems, not a moment too soon.” – The Sixth Doctor on “Doctor Who”, Colin Baker.

There’s a big tree near the front of my house. Don’t ask me what kind. I can definitively say it’s not an evergreen or a palm tree. And I’m pretty sure I can rule out birch or bonsai. For our purposes, it doesn’t really matter. Call it maple if that helps you.

So anyway, one morning last week, I went out to get in the car. The tree was unremarkable. Still pretty green, some brown.

But by the time I got home that evening…KABOOM!

All yellow, baby! Every leaf had changed just like that.

And it seems, not a moment too soon…

Fall is here.

Happens this way every year, and every year, I am caught a little bit unawares; not completely clueless, but not completely cognizant. It’s like the slow weight gain from all those office snack days and a new too many trips through the drive-thru that you fail to ration as diligently as you always intend to.

Where I live, the weather is still pretty good. It is unusually cool today, but mostly highs in the sixties and seventies lately and anticipated to return there soon. But even when it’s sunny and pleasant, there’s a fall crisp in the air – an invigorating crunchiness like the good kind of eatin’ apples. (Hate the mealy ones)

The early morning sun about now is burnished gold. The rumblings of the high school marching band coach barking orders through a megaphone crimps the nip in the morning air, which is itself redolent with the scent of people ignoring burn bans to burn leaves that have already started to fall.

Crimping the nip sounds naughty, but it also evokes the crunch of a carmel apple, early morning dew on the pumpkin patch.

No, it’s mostly just naughty.

I’ve begun the daily monitoring of another huge tree in my own yard that – much like a kid with a book report – always waits to the last moment to get its work done. Once that tree gives up its leaves, I know that winter is imminent. Winter brings with it its own baggage to be dealt with. More to come.

I crave anything that comes steamy in a cup – especially if it’s mocha or clam chowdery, though not at the same time. I think about how cozy it would be to put on a sweater and watch out the window as colored leaves swirl in the wind while I sip a hot toddy. Then I remember that I don’t like sweaters because I get too hot and if I had a toddy, one of my noisy, wall-bouncing kids would probably spill it because we’re entering the season where they’re cooped up all the time so they run with the bulls through the Pamplona of my living room.

As winter encroaches, this will only get worse because (a) they’ll want to go out and make snowmen but will be unwilling to stay out long enough to finish the job because – surprise – it’s cold or (b) if it’s like last year, there won’t be enough snow anyway which guts the job of playing outside in winter. So we’ll all be cooped up together.

Screw you for leaving, summer.


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