I REALLY want it to be fall…But that wont make it happen

Most of the time in the summer you will hear me complaining about the heat. I hate the heat. I don’t mind being warm, but I really hate being hot.

This summer didn’t really seem to be so bad. I never really noticed it being all that hot. Apparently this weekend is supposed to rank up there as one of the hottest of the summer.

Come on September!  Give those of us who like the cooler temps a break! Summer has had its day in the sun, so to speak. Bring on the bitter chill that signifies the changing of the guard!

When I was a kid, our family was friends with some folks who had a cottage on Orr’s Island. I was invited to spend time there often.

I recall digging for hen clams in the shallows, paddling around in the canoe, riding mopeds into the village to get pizza and ice cream, and trips out in the big boat to fish for mackerel and bluefish.  Also, we did a lot of swimming!

I was never a very strong swimmer, but my buddy Rob and I would float around the cove for hours, often taking breaks on the mooring lines of the many boats scattered around. I guess you could say we were a couple of dingys, amongst the dinghies!

But by the last week of August, it was over. The heat and humidity that drove us into the icy Atlantic water was gone. Where we had once spent hours in the water, if we went in the water at all, it was for a quick swim across the cove, where we would climb up a ladder onto the wharf to sit in the sun and complain about the rapidly approaching first day of school.


This time of year I always get giddy! I want to go pick apples. I want to pick pumpkins. I want to sit by a fire in the yard and sip coffee. Lately, more often than not I find those activities to be hot, and miserable.

It seems to me the summer weather isn’t as eager to let go as it was in the 70’s and 80’s. And if you believe in “Global Warming”, I suppose there is some truth there.

But soon, the heat of the day will no longer be able to beat back the coolness of the nights that are getting longer, and longer. Summer is over at last!

The angle of the sun is changing. It doesn’t ride so high in the sky and boil the brains from our skulls. It just kind of hangs there, struggling to remain above the trees for the time it has between dawn and dusk.

Now the night chill hangs on longer. The dew that was once burnt off by 8 am lingers until 10. The morning shadows cast their glow longer, and longer each day, and the evening shadows come sooner.

Fall is the time I come alive! Jeans! Sweaters! Hoodies! That is the time I go out and try to enjoy life! But the county fairs have mostly switched to the summer months when the kids are out of school. When the much cooler temps come along, the apples are all picked, and the ice cream stands are closing. People are slowing down, preparing for the long winter ahead. They have played all summer, and are tired.

Like spring, autumn is too short. We will get about 2 weeks were the temperatures are mild. Warm sunshine, walks hand in hand with a cool wind. It is a great time to be alive! There is no smell quite like a sunny October afternoon. The air is filled with the sweet smell of decaying leaves, goldenrod, and aster. The trees are bursting with color.  Get up high on a hill, and you will find a sea of color,  clumps of dark green swimming in a rolling mixture of reds, oranges, and yellows under a blue sky full of white clouds.

If you are like me, you may be tempted to hold off on your autumn activities until the weather is cooler, but it may get too cold before you realize it! It could be unseasonably warm up until an October storm brings the colorful foliage down from the trees. Maybe even before the colors have peaked. It wont care that you had planned to take a trip up into the western foothills for one last picnic. It wont care that you haven’t picked your apples yet.  It’s Your time is up! You waited too long.

That October storm will open a door that has held the cold air back. The prevailing winds will change, and they will always have a sharp to them until spring. The days will cool, and nothing will stop them. Ice on the puddles will be the norm, and by late November, the small ponds that sit on the north western side of a tree line will freeze, as winter is led in to tour the domain it will soon rule.

GET OUT THERE NOW! So what if you still have to wear shorts, and a T-shirt! Too bad if you want hot coffee and you are sick of cold soft drinks! GO! Find an activity to enjoy!

Take a trip to the coast! The wind coming off the ocean will chill you, and there are still mackerel to be caught!  Watch the gulls ride the wind.  Search the beaches for shells.  Play Frisbee with your dog in the surf!

Go pick your apples! Then wait until mid October to can them, or make your jellies when you can do it as a family on a cool Saturday afternoon. Nowadays you can buy electric pressure cookers, and small induction cook surfaces that you can use out in the yard. You can carve your jack-o-lanterns, and maybe have a fire, and drink hot cider while your jars seal… Think of how that will smell!

Get your canoe or kayak up into the streams that feed into the ponds and lakes. Paddle quietly, and you may see deer feeding in abandoned apple orchards. You will spook up flocks of ducks as they group together in preparation for their migration to winter feeding grounds.

Hang a bird feeder in your yard, and grab a book. Sit in the shade and read as the birds from Canada stop by to use your feeders as a rest stop on their journey south.

Just do SOMETHING outside before the weather turns foul!  November can be a cruel month, and it is coming fast!  If you put it off, you wont have me to blame!

Doug Alley

About Doug Alley

I grew up in Bath, Maine in an upper lower class family with 3 step sisters, a step brother, and a little sister. After high school I spent 3 years serving in the USAF at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK. I've competed in, and won, demolition derbies. I've competed in, and never won, stock car races. I am the 47-year-old father of an 11-year-old boy who is pretty sure he is smarter than I ever was. We live on a little less than an acre of land in a 1973 mobile home in Stetson with my wife Jen, some cats, a few chickens, and rabbits, and a couple of goats. I hunt, fish, camp out, dabble in photography, gardening, and I cook in variable degrees of near success.