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  • Lance Mannion
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An Angry Old Broad

This may sound odd,but I can detect a different smell and feel in the air when the seasons begin hinting at change.As summer wanes,the air at night is light(as opposed to muggy),crisper,and the stars even seem to be sharper(probably because the haze dries up)and more in focus.I also have naturally curly hair,when I can go out without it expanding to twice it's normal size,lol,I know the GA summer is on it's way out.

The hummingbirds make fewer appearances outside my office window once fall is on the way too.The leaves on the maples will begin to yellow on the inside branches,some will even begin dropping(if the past is any indicator,this will start in about 3 weeks)when the wind kicks up or it rains.

The moonflowers and morning glories also have good sized seed pods going just about the time the evenings begin cooling off as summer fades.My green beans and bell peppers begin looking really tired at that point too.If you pay attention,you also can see some of the birds doing their winter prep too.

It's funny the stuff you notice and figure out when you work in a garden on a particular piece of land year after year.

Shakespeare's Sister

How are people different?

No one waves when they mow their lawns. At the beginning of summer, it's good to be outside, even if it's to do a chore, and people happily wave across their gardens and maybe invite each other for a glass of lemonade or homemade wine. By the end of summer, lawnmowing is drudgery, and everyone goes about it with all the love of a lion for a thorn in its paw.

The evenings tend to get quieter, too, as the summer motorcyclists begin to put away their toys.

Exiled in NJ

Lance, you make me miss Columbia County so much. I recall the sumac begins to turn, and if you live upstate and don't have sumac, you are paying hefty 'vig' to some god. About now the bees up there would seem hungrier and more aggressive, and the mums would begin to bud. We had a flame bush at the corner of the house, and it would show the first signs of turning.

You knew fall was coming also when Albany TV stations started hyping "The Travers," the misnamed 'Midsummer Derby" held the 3rd or 4th Saturday in August. The G-men would break camp at the U of Albany and head south for the Meadowlands. Ads for wood would appear in the local throwaway papers. The corn and 'matoes' at the local stands would not be hothouse grown, and berries were replaced by apples, plums and the like.

And then one morning you'd wake to this NW wind about 30 mph, and the air temp wouldn't reach 70 and you knew God was telling you something. In four to six weeks the 'peepers' would be coming.

Down here by the bay in Ocean County I've yet to figure out how marsh life adapts to the seasons. The trees get tired looking, but change does not come until late October.

mac macgillicuddy

I'm not going to be a party to this! Nope.


Ah, I've moved to where summer ends when everyone puts away their plywood and we eat all the hurricane emergency food.

When I was a kid summer ended when I couldn't find anyone who would come out to play baseball. "It's too cold!." Wimps.


I love this, Lance. I'm feeling a little bit of what you describe here this week, and it has been such a brutal summer--and I so love fall--that I'm trying not to let myself acknowledge it for fear of jumping the gun. That will be harder now that I've read this!

Here is one of my all-time favorite literary quotations:

"There comes a day, in the ripe maturity of late summer, when you first detect a suggestion of the season to come; often as subtle as a play of evening light against familiar bricks, or the drift of a few brown leaves descending, it signals imminent release from savage heat and intemperate growth. You anticipate cool, misty days, and a slow, comely decadence in the order of the natural. Such a day now dawned; and my pale northern soul, in its pale northern breast, quietly exulted as the earth slowly turned its face from the sun."

(Patrick McGrath, "The Angel," in his book Blood and Water)

My apartment overlooks a city playground with a fountain, and contrary to Shakespeare's Sister's experience, I find that this time of year the kids stay out later and louder, trying to hold onto what they have left of the season. Last night was cool enough that I slept under a comforter without AC, and nevertheless they were out there after 9 in the water!


You east coast folks have real seasons. California is a bit different, specially San Francisco. The fall feels like summer and summer feels like fall over here...

Glad to see you are feeling better :)


All of the physical signs of summer's passing are there. The heat in NJ means summer is winding down because it peaks in mid to late August. Suddenly, almost magically, just after Labor Day the humidity is gone and the air is refreshed. The kids will begin fall routines soon because the start of preseason soccer and band camps are a week away. That means sleeping in is not as possible as it was for most of the summer.

I have less than 22 days to the start of classes. I began my course prep rituals at 30 days but now have begun preparing in earnest. This is a good time because it is the last interlude before I begin a new learning adventure with a new group of students. That is one of the wonderful parts of being a teacher. At this point in the summer that opportunity is just a short distance out from where I am.

It's good that you've recovered quickly. It must have been your mother's chicken soup.


We start getting reminders that it's more urgent to set up the hurricane emergency kit than it was in June.

What? This is Hawai'i; the only seasons are wet (November-February) and the rest of the time.


In my neck of the woods, summer is still in it's hot, humid glory. No signs of fall. However, the one reminder I have about summer coming to an end is...the canister that holds the granular chlorine for my pool!

At the beggining of the summer, the canister was heavy and full. Each day I dug in and put two or three small scoops into the pool. The middle of July, the canister was half empty. Hmmm, summer must be half over. This morning I noticed the canister only has about two inches of chlorine left in it. Reminds me of watching an hourglass slowly empty itself. Summer is almost over.



And "the rest of the time" being what? Oh yeah, paradise.

That's right rub it in, you live in Hawaii.

And you can get Carl's burgers there too.



The sudden appearance of large and colorful butterflies around the end of July has always been my personal first sign of the end of summer. Immediately followed by peach season.

Neddie Jingo

Here come the ducks, it's Fall again
Painting the picture on the water
Swallowing in September's sun
Running away like Summer's daughter

Here come the ducks, it's Fall again
Writing the words above the hollow
Time on your shoulder drift in light
Breeze on the water, thoughts will follow

All of your actions burn away
All of your friends in dogwood flaming
Here come the moon, it's night again
Shingle the water where he's aiming

Oh beautiful hills!

There's your wealth
Look at the water, there's your glory
Here come the ducks, it's Fall again
Look at the ducks, they tell the story.

-- David Yazbek, two-time Tony Award LOSER whom everybody should know lots more about. In 1998 he spent a night on my basement couch. Nyah nyah.

The Countess

When my pineapple sage blooms, I know summer is at its end. I also know fall is around the bend when the first wild asters bloom. I don't have pineapple sage this year, so I have to keep an eye out for the asters.

I know winter is here when I see juncos. They're little black birds with white bellies.

I know spring is here when the first snowdrops bloom. It's definitely here when the viburnum bush blooms. That bush smells great, too.

Kevin Wolf

I spent many a morning getting up early for newspaper delivery and/or farm labor. It was amazing the change in August: Even if the day was to be in the high 80s, the early morning was chilly and, as pointed out in an earlier comment, the smells changed.

Still, I'll take the warmth of August and enjoy it. I know November is coming...


If I were back in San Diego, or just the West Coast in general, I'd say that the air was starting to smell like fall. There's a sort of indefinable quality to it, something between lightness and crispness. There would be afternoons when the shadows felt long, and the light soft and golden. The summer fruits would begin to leave the supermarkets. There would be school specials not only in the Targets, but in the ordinary supermarkets. The air would feel cooler, even if it wasn't, and a slight tang of brushfire smoke might waft in from the east.

Here, in my new place, I'm feeling a bit at a loss.


Fall? I miss fall. I remember it so well ...

But I love fall in the Bay Area because, as Denis said, it actually gets hot in fog city, and I can sit outdoors later without worrying that a wind will whip a tent into my face, which has actually happened.

My favorite part of fall is when we "fall back" and get an extra hour of the evening. I feel all snuggly when the sun sets earlier, and I can imagine that the weather is changing.

Tilli (Mojave Desert)

Fall starts when hot winds blow crazy toward the California coast.

Out here in the desert, we chuckle;
enjoying our first cool breeze and a certain change in the air.


Tilli (Mojave Desert)

that is:

When it's October and the Santa Ana's blow and it's 108 in LA and people are going seriously nuts, did you know that it's usually 40 degrees cooler out here? La la. Time to cover up the swamp cooler and call in the chimney sweep.

The wind is coming from the direction of the desert, but the heat isn't ours. Friction heats the wind squeezing over the mountains toward the sea.

Or something like that.

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