Sum­mer says GOOD-BYE

Along the Trail

The Victoria Standard - - Commentary / Heritage - CHUCK THOMP­SON

The back of sum­mer is bro­ken. By the time the rolled up Vic­to­ria Stan­dard finds its way into your mail­box, it will be mid-au­gust, and that means fall is on our doorstep. The days are still long, it’s hot... stink­ing hot, and the streets of Baddeck swarm with sum­mer vis­i­tors. But it still creeps up on us, that glo­ri­ous sea­son called au­tumn.

“No way, you blus­ter. It is still beach weather, san­dals and shorts.”

True enough, but the days are get­ting shorter at both ends and soon, very soon, you will see the dif­fer­ence. The sun will be slower to rise (as will I), quicker to set, and other signs will be­gin to man­i­fest them­selves. The baby birds will have fledged, the hum­mers will be get­ting ready to jour­ney south or at least have com­pleted pre-board­ing. Un­known to you, some of our small song­birds will al­ready be gone, no longer singing their sweet songs from the bushes or alders along the streams. On these hot days, crick­ets will drone on as the sun climbs high in the sky. It’s the “dog days of sum­mer”, but the dog will soon stop howl­ing.

Some­day soon, you will be driv­ing some­where and you will see the first maple tree turn­ing. It is usu­ally the swamp maples that go first, but it is a sure sign that the rest will soon fol­low. “Time nor tide wait for no man.”

Mush­rooms will be­gin to sprout in the mead­ows around the county and gold­en­rod will be abun­dant. My nose will run like a bro­ken tap and many of us will curse the rag­weed sea­son.

The Loons and their ba­bies will be head­ing to salt wa­ter. Like our sum­mer res­i­dents, they leave when the first hard frost shows it­self. That can be any­time.

In the lit­tle vil­lage of Baddeck, bus tours will re­place all the fam­ily sedans and SUV’S as the fam­i­lies head back to wher­ever school is about to start. Some teach­ers are al­ready stand­ing in front of the mir­ror prac­tic­ing their hol­ler­ing.

But the best is yet to come. Long be­fore the snow flies and naked trees dot the land­scape, au­tumn will play out its glo­ri­ous, too short sea­son. If life was fair, fall would be at least an­other month longer, maybe two. Take any other month (say Jan­uary, July or April), trade them one on one and what a place this would be. It’s not too shabby now, but imag­ine two Septem­bers or Oc­to­bers. What is the def­i­ni­tion of heaven?

I, for one, will not lament the pass­ing of sum­mer. The hu­mid­ity, black­fies, bugs, weeds and traf­fic will all die down to a dull roar. The wood stove will crackle to life and ra­di­ant heat will fill the house. Wool sweaters will re­place swim suits and san­dals. I will miss the rel­a­tive state of un­dress that passes for fash­ion in sum­mer (shorts and san­dals) but am quite con­tent to don a vest or jacket as I head out into the clear, crisp au­tumn air. Even Novem­ber doesn’t scare me. I must be a bat, but I like the short days and late morn­ings. Soon, I will pile wood in the shed with­out blood run­ning down my neck. Sum­mer: thanks, it’s been a blast .But bye-bye. The best is yet to come.

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