Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hello, Autumn

It's 6:43 post meridian as I type this and I am sad. It's getting dark already. Our sun is omnipresent here in the desert southwest, and we come to expect her to warm the driveway as we pad out in our slippers to get the morning paper and to bake G'mas's thin skin in the middle of the afternoon and to reflect off the gas grill as I make a late dinner. I'd gotten used to having her around until 8 or 8:00 every night and now she's not and I'm sad. Summer is really over. The days are getting shorter. And there's way more dark than I'd like.

The Big Cuter is in San Francisco now, so we share a time zone in the summer. But we're at the eastern end and he's at the western end and last night he called to tell us that the sunset was gorgeous on a fog-less evening. I was amused that he'd called to comment about the view (remembering his "Do we have to stop and look again" wails from the back seat on car trips) but I was also terminally jealous. We'd been in the dark for an hour or so.

Our big house in Marin was on the top of a hill. If the sun was out, it was shining on our property. I could look down into the lower neighborhoods and watch as the shadows engulfed them (I've always loved that phrase -- swallowed by the absence of light..... it's an interesting concept, no?). The sun came up over the open space and set over the mountains and my house was bathed in light all day. We rented down near the highway after we'd sold the manse, and I looked with longing at the houses above us as the shadows overtook our space much too early in the day for my taste.

The air has a crisper feel to it, even here in the desert southwest where the temperatures are still creeping into triple digits in the late afternoon. I was planting trees this weekend and wasn't bothered by mosquitoes or snakes or hot, cloying, sticky air. I was dripping sweat and won't pretend that it was totally pleasant, but I could work outside in the mid-afternoon for 3 hours. That was not an option 4 weeks ago...... unless I was courting heat stroke.

The sun comes in through the breakfast nook's window and shines in my eyes at 4:45 now instead of 6:30 and I have to remember to put the sun tea out before I leave for lunch with G'ma. I used to be able to put it together as I began to prepare dinner and the sun would work her magic as I cooked. Now, if I wait til I'm ready to make dinner there are no sunbeams to create my tea. Sad.

The solar heater on the pool is feeling the change, too. Without any electrical stimulation, our pool was a roasty toasty jump right in and swim 85 delightfully cossetting degrees for most of the summer. Suddenly, it's 72 and suitable only for TBG's mile-and-a-half-lap-swim. Lazing on the noodles is now impossible without turning on the heater. And we learned our lesson the first fall we lived here - keeping the pool warm for the Cuters' visit at Thanksgiving gave us a $700 electric bill and children who sat in the hot tub because it was just too cold to swim.

Without the start-of-school drama of new clothes and shoes and routines, I'm free to revel in the long dog-day-afternoons of summer for as long as Mother Nature will allow. I think she's telling me that it's time to let go............ sad.

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