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Goodbye, Summer!Posted Tuesday, October 18, 2011, at 1:57 PM
A view back into the woods behind my house reveals the red of poison sumac, which was really the only pretty color visible yesterday, on the last day of summer. I fear that our fall colors are going to be dreadfully dull!
I've never lived in a climate where it was summer all the time, so I have no idea what it would be like. Is it as idyllic as it seems in the magazines and movies? Would we relax around a crystal clear pool all summer, baking our skin in the sun and dreaming of sunny beaches? Would we be entertained by dolphins and parakeets, butterflies and gentle breezes?
There are days in Missouri when the weather is just that serene and blissful, but if I were to guess their number, I would estimate the time in weeks, rather than months. We had some pretty good days this summer, but I believe we had MORE blazingly hot, dry days.
Did anyone happen to count them?
I do believe that today will be looked upon as the first day of something, whether winter or autumn, I'm not sure. The forces of change came through in the night, so you'd better not have walked out the door in shorts, like so many of you did yesterday.
Well, what the heck? Isn't October supposed to be colder, anyway? What were we doing in short sleeves and flip flops on October 17?
The only comparison I have for Missouri weather is the northern extreme, since we lived in Alaska for a period of time. October was a different sort of bird up there: No gold and red leaves, no moderate breezes, no late-staying hummingbirds, tardy for their trip south.
We had the studded snow tires on our vehicles by September 15 or risked getting stuck in a snow drift. We made sure the circulating heater was in working order to warm the block, and we had the extension cord ready to plug into our electrical outlets in the parking lot at the school where I taught. Woe be unto us if we didn't get to school early enough to get a plug in! (I don't want to think of it.)
August is the closest thing to "autumn" in Fairbanks. The birch trees turn a brilliant yellow for one weekend. Then it's over. Boo hoo! Is that all?? The sun is still "shining," if you want to call it that. It's positively cool as soon as the sun goes behind a cloud.
One thing about it, we knew what to expect each day of winter - cold and dark! Here in MO, we may have a day like this one -- cold, gray, wet, gloomy, but tomorrow may be warm, sunny and beautiful!
As for life in the sunny south, I did live in Abilene, Texas for two or three years when I was about seven, but I don't remember it as being an idyllic time of warmth and joy... In fact, I remember running home from school during one particularly frightening sandstorm...
I suppose the "sunny south" is best considered as the southern tip of Florida. I did spend a couple of pretty pleasant weeks in the Ft. Myers region earlier this year, but I have no idea if the entire year is as pleasant as those two weeks. I've heard that it gets ungodly hot in the height of the summer.
I suspect that I would miss the changing of the seasons, if given a chance at "Paradise," but I have no way of knowing that for sure.
I also suspect that the "snowbirds" may be getting ready to vacate the premises...
As a cold rain drips down from the roof of the NSC office, my mind bids a reluctant farewell to the sunny days of summer...
From the wet, gray streets of North Stoddard County, at the edge of civilization as we know it, this is your forlorn and abandoned rural reporter, Madeline, pecking her life away at her ancient MacIntosh computer in the last outpost of intelligent life...
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.