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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Fall

The heat finally broke. It's almost as if the moon wiped it clean off the face of the sun during the eclipse. All week it was brutal and muggy, and now, cool as one of the cucumbers we've been pulling out of the garden.

It's almost over - we'll harvest the food, turn the Earth, and wait for the rain to become snow the way caterpillars morph into butterflies - or like a negative of that.

This is not to be confused with the Farmer's Almanac, though. For my nephew Charlie, this was a bittersweet time of year. He chafed at the thought of going back to school, spending his time parked in the classroom instead of doing (as one of his teachers put it) pretty much whatever it was he wanted to do.

I was not the kind of uncle to let it slip his mind, either. "Sixteen," I would say to him on a random sunny day.

"Sixteen what?"

"Sixteen days left until the First Day of School!" Followed by his groans. Charlie loved to groan... It runs in the family.

The good part, though, was the new school clothes. Both my sister and Charlie's Dad had keen ideas about how a boy should be dressed for school. They weren't necessarily on the same page (or even looking at the same catalog), but that provided him with a broad fashion spectrum from which to choose, and Charlie liked that, too.

But soon enough the leaves would turn and then drop, and the bicycle would be put in the shed in exchange for the sled, and the rake swapped out with the snow shovel. Those fancy new duds would be buried, first under a coat, then under a hat and scarf, and finally disappear beneath an outright snow suit.

This is
the way the world turned for Charlie and his Mom. And for me, the not-silent observer.

And then, one day, the world just... Stopped.

These last few summer days will run out like beads off the end of a string. The school buses will still rumble by the house. The impending season, this time before us, is sometimes called Autumn. But we know it as the fall.

pH 8.22.17