Last Chance

Now that we’ve passed the autumnal equinox, all the signs that summer is over have become more prevalent.  Of course, there are the birds, having shed their breeding colors and stopped their incessant singing.  But, there are many other signs.

For one, the nights are cool and crisp, the air taking on a taste (or is it a touch?) that snaps as I move through it.  And the nights come faster, the sun setting earlier each night, while the mornings drag along, the sun too sleepy to rise.

Leaves have started blowing along the paths in the park, crunching underfoot and crackling against concrete as they dance in the breeze.  The leaves that remain on the trees have shifted from deep green to something a women’s clothing catalog might call chartreuse.

As I walk Tisen longer and longer before dawn, Venus continues to shine brilliantly as if it’s late at night.  Combined with the waxing moon, I find myself confused as to whether I’m getting up or going to bed.  With the morning temperatures calling for a fleece, I’m tempted to go to bed.


The pots of summer flowers on neighbors’ balconies have disappeared and been replaced with mums in fall colors.  Some even have pumpkins and halloween decorations displayed.  The stores have already stocked halloween candy (betting on compulsive sugar-eaters like me buying early and eating what they buy and having to replenish before trick or treat).

Yet, there are still persistent remnants of summer.  The Tennessee River remains the temperature of a warm bath (how I know that is a subject for another blog post).  The late afternoon temperatures still reach the mid to high 80’s.  And, on weekends, local families still gather on the sledding hill.

Just over a year ago, I did a post called Southern Sledding.  This was the most fascinating tradition to me.  It struck me as odd that up North, it had never occurred to us to sled on grass.  We waited around for 10 months out of the year day dreaming about when we could go sledding again, hoping against hope that we’d get enough snow over Christmas vacation (which never happened).  And then hoping for enough snow to close the schools so we could go sledding instead of going to school (which rarely happened).  Perhaps we liked the idea of sledding more than the reality of sledding and that’s what kept us from thinking of sledding in warmer weather on the grass?

Whatever the reason, the sledding hill seems to be more crowded now as if everyone who never got around to grass sledding during the summer is trying to get it in before the weather changes.

This is one tradition I have yet to try.  I keep waiting for someone to offer a class on proper technique.  I guess I, too, will have to try to get it in before the rains start.  Perhaps I will take a lesson from one of my subjects and wear a helmet.


4 responses to “Last Chance

  1. this is my favorite time of the year. I noticed a blue jay (?) I think that is what it was, yesterday and I thought of you lol. It was striking color on a background of dull. I remembered that it was my favorite bird back when I lived in Michigan. Have fun Sledding and yes wear a helmet. People around here don’t even wear helmets when riding motorcycles and there is no law against it. Makes me cringe!

    • Blue Jays are fun birds–although some consider them obnoxious. They are loud and often aggressive, but I agree that they’re beautiful! I haven’t made it over to the sledding hill yet, but will try to get my hubby to take pics if I do!

  2. Kids (and a few adults) just can’t get enough. My kids were addicted to “sledding” down the hill we live on whether it was grass, concrete, ice, or snow–I have been tempted to ice the hill when it gets really cold especially after my in-laws got them a REAL sled. Then there are the stairs in the house–who wants to walk when you can slide? 🙂 Take care and enjoy the weather! This is perfect.

    • Ah–sledding the stairs! I’d forgotten about that. We didn’t have carpeted stairs when I was small enough to want to do that, but we used to love going to a friend’s house who not only had carpeted steps, but it was shag carpeting, which was the BEST for sliding down! Thanks for the memory! 🙂

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