Friday, September 4, 2009

A Sudden Gust

The winds of autumn were rising. I felt it in the cold water. I saw it in the quickening dusk each night. And the beechnuts were falling.

That was the irrevocable sign. In the back yard stands a magnificent old beech, the limbs sheltering the deck and sweeping over the roof.

When the beechnuts fall, they cover the patio and sink delicately into the pool. When they are ripest, they rain, drop and bounce. The cascade is thickest when we sit on the deck. The squirrels break them open and drop the shells to clatter on the planks.

The coming of September was like the shutting of a door. Comfortable warmth plunged into the 50s at night.

I had been swimming every day, and suddenly, it was a short, icy plunge, fast laps in a vain try to warm up followed by a quick retreat to the sanctuary of a towel and a hot shower -- not a cooling one, a respite from heat or humidity, but a welcome warmup.

With no one on a school schedule any more, I had hoped to swim into the middle of the month, but as usual, it is a vain hope. Nature will not be denied.

Labor Day is late this year but it will pass almost without notice.

Winter is coming.