THE LONG VIEW: Fall season brings its charm, before the winter chill

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Pat Grimes New pic.jpg

I write this on an October day with a local high of 81 degrees, a temperature my neck of the woods will likely not see again until spring. Despite the sunshine, a lot of the neighborhood maples are changing wardrobes; autumn is here. I am trying not to let it get me down.

Summer is my favorite season. Maybe that’s a holdover from childhood, when early June’s last school bell had rung and I’d slip into a simple T-shirt and short pants ensemble for the next 90 days.

I write this on an October day with a local high of 81 degrees, a temperature my neck of the woods will likely not see again until spring. Despite the sunshine, a lot of the neighborhood maples are changing wardrobes; autumn is here. I am trying not to let it get me down.

Summer is my favorite season. Maybe that’s a holdover from childhood, when early June’s last school bell had rung and I’d slip into a simple T-shirt and short pants ensemble for the next 90 days.

Summer is still my season supreme, a time of barbecues and swimming pools, long days and seashores, vacations and visiting. I hate to see it go, but the calendar’s hard facts are confirmed whenever I am outdoors. Not only are leaves changing, the nighttime and morning temperatures grow more brisk, and the sun is clocking out earlier with each passing afternoon.

Last week knocked me down pretty good. After a sunny, 79° Sunday, Monday and its successors struggled to reach the low 60s while rain fell for hours each day, bringing a chill that lasted into the weekend. The combination of inclement weather and a very noticeable reduction in sunlight brought the first shivers of seasonal depression.

It’s not that fall is without charm; harvest time brings apples, apple cider, donuts, football games, marching bands, and beautiful girls in sweaters, not to mention Halloween and Thanksgiving’s fun and gluttony. Plus, it does not usually feature terrible coldness. One might have to take a heavier jacket out of mothballs and carry an umbrella, but autumn does not harass us with sleet, snow, ice, and all of the hassles and dangers that come with it.

Therein lay fall’s faults. It not only signals the end of summer, it announces the most difficult and unforgiving season, winter. I could forgive autumn if, when it was over, we moved directly to springtime. No, fall in the Midwest gives us a hint of chill in the air as well as the surety we will soon be drinking chill from a fire hose.

Still, one tries to keep things in perspective. I did, after all, choose to live here. And, truth be told, the winter experienced locally is decidedly mild compared to what hardier souls endure elsewhere. Heck, whenever I’m feeling bad about my winter weather, I make a phone call to relatives in Minnesota, where consistently the air is colder, the snow deeper, and the ice more treacherous.

If I cannot reach my kin, a quick January peek at any weather webcam in Buffalo, New York, Bismarck, North Dakota, or Butte, Montana reveals frozen landscapes that confirm I don’t have it so bad.

Probably I should just grow up. Winter will come and go in only a few months of multilayered clothing. Autumn is here; as I’m not sure of how many more I’ll get, I should try to enjoy it.

So, grab me a mug of mulled wine, and pass that bowl of squash soup and slice of pumpkin bread. Oh, and throw a few patio chairs on the fire, it’s getting a little chilly.

Pat Grimes, a former South Bay resident, writes from Ypsilanti, Mich. He can be reached at grimespat19@gmail.com

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