BY NORBERT RUG
I get up early almost every morning to see if anyone has published any of my work. My articles usually get published around 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning. It wasn’t yet dawn but the sky was beginning to get brighter. I grabbed a banana, a glass of vegetable juice and my laptop and headed for the back porch.
The air still had the nighttime crispness to it. The kind of freshness that you only get in the late summer/early fall. The birds hadn’t started their morning song yet but the crickets and frogs were going full tilt. I love hearing the crickets and frogs.
There were a few other sounds in my neighborhood, a dog barking in the distance and the low quiet hum of traffic passing a few blocks away. The neighborhood was quiet until my neighbor started his car to go to work. Other than that it was fairly quiet and I was enjoying it. Our neighborhood is comparatively serene. A few of my neighbors are retired and they don’t have anywhere to go that early in the morning. I would say it is a sleepy little neighborhood.
Another advantage to where I live is that you can’t get anywhere by driving through it. The only cars I see belong to residents and the people who are lost.
The light from the moon was augmented by the street light filtering thru the leaves of our maple tree. Between the two sources, there was just enough light so I wouldn’t step on something. The leaves of the trees hadn’t started to turn yet, but I knew it would not be long before their stately mantle would be on the ground, being strewn about by the wind.
I watched a cat slink across my back yard, looking for a meal when it spotted me. It froze hoping I wouldn’t see it and stared at me, watching to see what I was going to do. When it decided I wasn’t a threat, it continued across my yard, under my fence and disappeared behind my neighbor’s house.
A cool breeze kissed my face and rang the wind chimes I have on my back porch. Listening to the wind chimes is very soothing to me and we leave some of them out year-round. Unfortunately, the gentle breeze brought the pungent odor of a skunk with it. The skunk wasn’t nearby so it was only a slight wisp of a smell though.
I’ve been trying not to listen to those people who are talking about the end of summer, trying to pretend they are wrong, that these long, lovely days will never end. But in the early mornings, I can smell, hear and feel fall coming.
It is still light out enough evenings to fool us all into thinking that we have more time. And my wife and I will delay dinner until 7 p.m., to take advantage of that time. Playing cards outside until dark, but then we have to move inside until bedtime. Gone are the nights sitting on our porch swing until 10 o’clock.
Very soon it’s going to be time to change the clocks. Finally, the clock in my car will be right once again. I never did learn how to set that damned clock. How does the axiom go? Is it fall back or fall forward? We must have 12 to 15 clocks that will need resetting: vehicle clocks, alarm clocks, a clock radio, the clock on the stove, a clock on our phone and one on the microwave. The list seems endless and that’s just downstairs. It’s an all-day job. Everything else resets itself.
As I think about it, I am retired with nothing to do, why do I need so many clocks? The only room in my house that doesn’t have a clock is my bathroom. I get up when I am awake, eat when I am hungry and go to bed when I am tired. But I digress.
These late summer days won’t last long, I know that. The older grandchildren have gone off to college and the younger ones will be back at school before long. They won’t be spending all day with us like they did over the summer, until the next school vacation.
The leaves will soon start turning a kaleidoscope of colors signifying the shorter days and longer nights. Soon, I’ll all be switching the position of the lawnmower and the snowblower in our garage.
But that’s all for later. Right now is a good time to put off whatever it is you wanted to do inside until after dark, step outside and just smell the air. Soon we won’t be able to breathe the fresh air outdoors without bundling up against the cold.
So, step outside. Look at the trees, look at the sky, and enjoy the scents of late summer. Take advantage of the daylight and walk through a park if you can — or just walk around the block. Fire up the grill, cook the last few hot dogs of summer and eat your dinner outside.
But, as we all know, these days won’t last forever. Winter is coming, with its cold winds, snow, icy roads, and slick sidewalks and then it will be time to put on our boots and snow tires.
Norb is a freelance journalist from Lockport NY. You can follow his blog here.