Tag Archives: seasons

Autumn light

Yesterday it rained all day, on and off, ranging from drizzle to steady fall. It was our edge of Hurricane Matthew, probably, and we were lucky to get off so lightly. I made chili for dinner, because it was definitely chili weather. This morning the skies were a deep blue etched high up with feathery clouds, the breeze was stiff, and the air was chilly.

Dash got dressed in the same shorts and t-shirt he was wearing yesterday. I suggested he rethink that, so he went full-on in the other direction, reappearing in cosy tracksuit bottoms, long-sleeved top, and – he announced – his ski socks.

Then he put on a hoodie and his jacket as well, and demanded mittens. Cue everyone running upstairs to ransack the cold-weather-accoutrements bag, where hats and scarves and gloves live in the summer. He got his mittens, Mabel pulled out earmuffs and a scarf and gloves, and they were well protected against the elements for a trip to the farmers’ market.

The sunshine is filtering through the trees behind the house, sending dancing shadows onto my yellow kitchen walls with every blast of the wind. The lawn is starting to collect this year’s ransom of yellow leaves; just a sprinkling so far. There are boys playing football at the front of the house and a girl drawing pictures inside it.

I made a tarte tatin with apples from the market for tonight, since the chili is already in the fridge. I usually save that recipe for special occasions, but maybe the first day of real autumn weather is enough.

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Summer’s end

The cicadas are so loud this time of year. When you go outside in the evening, there’s this almost electronic noise, rising to a crescendo and dying off, almost completely, before it starts again. It’s coming from the trees. A massive choral buzzing sort of chirp, a bit like a windup toy or a pullback car that you just let go.

Before I knew, I thought the noise was crickets, in the grass. But cicadas are not crickets. They’re like giant flying beetles, except you rarely see them fly, you just hear them. It’s the quintessential sound of summer in a hot climate.

If you go down to the lake, you hear the frogs and toads as well as the cicadas. Some of them peep, long or short; some of them have an amazing resonant low-toned twang. It sounds like the string of an electric bass guitar being plucked.

When I go out to the line to bring in the bone-dry washing, tiny crickets hop away from my feet with every step. The fireflies are gone – they’re an early summer thing, and it’s late, late summer now. There’s a shrivelled aloe plant in a plastic pot on my deck. A neighbour child gave it to us for no apparent reason, and I resent plants, so I put it out there and ignored it. It’s finally dying, but it took its time. Next-door’s cat ambles past. Cats are meant to be indoor-only here, but many people ignore that directive, and next-door’s cat spends much of his time lying on our front doorstep or under our cars. We don’t mind.

The air conditioning is working hard in the shops where the knitwear is already in stock. I nearly behaved inappropriately with a cardigan in Old Navy last week, because the smooth, soft wool felt so good against my bare arms. When I walk into the supermarket I’m hit by a waft of fake pumpkin spice, and the Halloween stock is on the shelves. The world is ready for autumn, but the weather hasn’t taken the hint just yet. Tomorrow they’re forecasting record September highs – temperatures in the 90s again.

Summer’s over. I’m ready for socks, and cups of tea that don’t make me sweat. I’d like to accessorize with a scarf again. Be done, summer. Go gracefully. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

orange flower with drooping petals