Summer Slipping away on September Sighs of Covid Exhaustion

In Central Virginia, we have had a rainy August and September. The grass looks spring-time green while some of the tree leaves are yellowed and too weary to hang on for October’s spectacular burst of color.

The temps and humidity have both faded from a blast furnace like slap to a gentle caress. The 90s have sullenly slipped away leaving a mixture of low 80s and full range of 70s in their wake. The dew point has followed from the tropical realms to a more comfortable 50 to 60 percent.

Fall mums are replacing impatiens and begonias in front yard pots and farm stands. The local news has advertised the first corn maze at a pumpkin farm. Pumpkin signs are everywhere from pumpkin flavored lattes at Starbucks to pumpkin infused pancakes at First Watch. The first house in our neighborhood put out it’s ceramic jack-o-lantern.

The season of peaches is waning while the apple and cider season is waxing strongly. Carter’s Mountain, a local orchard, has just implemented a ticket reservation system (with charges for Friday- Sunday) to control the crowds who come to pick apples, drink cider or wine, catch the view, or shop in the country store.

The few remaining cornfields are brown and withered with most ears already picked.

The deer are coming out earlier as twilight emerges sooner each day. Dawn is also later as we burn less day light each day. Soon the rut will begin and unfortunately, car struck deer will provide easy meals for the raptors that soar overhead on the autumn currents coming off the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The dogwood leaves look crinkled and weary as the blight continues to assault each native tree. The red dogwood berries shining glossily on many trees, despite the lichen covered bark and tattered remains of desiccated leaves trembling on each fragile branch.

The local economy seems to be picking up as the students return bringing a spike in our COVID rate with them. How long UVA can continue to hold smaller, more socially distant in-person classes is a close hold secret. The administration has not shared what the threshold might be that could trigger a switch to only online learning.

COVID fatigue has set in long ago with the added stress of the upcoming flu season and the unlikelihood of being able to continue the outdoors dining and meeting space that have been the norm since last Spring.

This has been the first fall in a long time where I have had or taken the time to notice summer’s passing and the slow arrival of fall on September sighs.

I feel as weary as the yellowed leaves

but still hanging on to see

if tomorrow will bring a better day.

The Fall of the Courtesan

Cove of the lake.JPGFall is not mistress of her own domain this year.  Instead of strutting in with lower temperatures, less humidity, and  a bright mass of colors, she has imitated August’s lack of rain, higher daytime and nighttime temperatures, and stick-to-your-skin humidity.  The grass and leaves are still a mixture of browns and greens. Summer does not want to leave and Autumn is letting her stay as long as she wants.

Autumn at Linden.JPGNormally Fall enters as a brassy strumpet-vibrant  look-at-me colors, skirt lifting breezes, a cricket crescendo to mark the waning light and declining temperatures.  The light is waning, but most of the temperatures are not.  The only insects trying to sneak into the house are the unwanted stink bugstink bugs.  These primitive looking insects seem to hark back to an earlier  age.

This year fall is doing a subtle strip tease.  The wind haphazardly scatters  random handfuls of brown leaves–enough to litter the porch and sidewalks, but not enough to create a pile worth raking, burning, or jumping into.  She can’t seduce with us overwhelming sensory sights, sounds, and smells.  She musts entice with a hint of color here, a murmur of leaf crunch there, the brief scent of composting leaves early in the morning, the occasional relief of a cooler breeze on our still bare arms.Lake at Peaks of Otter.JPG

Front of Peaks of Otter Lodge.JPGApple cider, pumpkins, and chrysanthemums have become the produce of choice at local farm stands.  Many of the regional farmers’ markets will  shut down in the next week or two, unless the absent frost prolongs the growing season.  Wineries have completed their grape harvest, except for grapes like petite manseng which are normally harvested last..

The leaf peepers keep pushing back the weekend of peak foliage. Normally the 3rd weekend of October for Central Virginia, this may be one of the years where many trees still have green leaves at Thanksgiving.

2017_Fal_Color_Schedule_Virginia_ef3a5946-2817-40f1-b948-1dfbeaa4c851

Will fall make an appearance this year, or will it silently slip away?  Will  Winter  suddenly announce itself with frosty breath and blackened plants?  Meteorological winter does not arrive until December 1, but the season seldom read the calendar.

Join in the conversation with your view about whether this is a typical fall.