Change in season getting closer

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 9, 2005

Although it is of no astronomical significance, Labor Day traditionally marks the end of summer, although the holiday is a less important indicator now that so many school systems start in August.

Here on the lake heat and rain seemed to put a damper on boating activity all summer. There appeared to be more boating traffic for the final fling of summer, although it is difficult to quantify. Certainly there was not as much as we’ve seen in years past. We talked with several lake dwellers who said their kids and kin stayed away because of concern about the availability of gasoline – both for the automobiles and the boats. I suspect it was more than kids and kin who decided to spend their holiday closer to home.

Those who stayed away missed as grand a day as there was all summer, grand, but holding a hint of change in season. In just a week or so, the lake has dropped perceptibly, a man made sign of the changing season.

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I wrote recently that the rain and the heat and the humidity were wearing more than a little thin. Perhaps I should have complained earlier.

Almost coincident with the holiday, the temperature dropped and the humidity declined along with it. When I went out about 6 on a recent morning, there was an invigorating touch of coolness in the air, and my shirt wasn’t soaked after I took a few steps.

The leaves of maples, sourwoods and sweet gums are beginning to show the red that is a signal to stop and enjoy the day. On Labor Day we sat on the deck watching the grandchildren swim and watching the breeze tug leaves off the trees and send them tumbling like a child’s aerial toy. Some of the trees are dropping on the deck tiny black pellets that look like black pepper.

I used the loud and efficient blower to clear them away, but within hours they were back. It is a ritual that will be repeated regularly right until well into spring.

Butterflies flitted around our flowers, seemingly as intent on observing the end of the season as the people on the water.

Soon it will be time for people to put their runabouts away, and before long many pontoon boats will be resting in their boat lifts or on the exposed edges of the lake bottom until spring.

Before the water drops all the way to winter pool, though, there are plenty of inviting days, and it is possible to motor out on a weekday evening to watch the sunset without encountering more than two or three other boats.

Soon we will be able to paddle our kayaks, our idea of truly personal watercraft, without bouncing around on the wakes of other boats as if we are in a bowl with an eggbeater running.

Going for a walk is once again a pleasure instead of a grim duty.

During the dead of summer, even early in the morning, it has been easy to think of good reasons not to stir briskly, or even to get out at all. There is no room for excuses now.

I know that this respite is temporary, and I feel duty bound to appreciate it. Perhaps the best way to do that is from the vantage point of the hammock, listening to a football game on the radio.

Perhaps Mother Nature was getting as tired of the rain and the heat and the humidity as we were.

Bill Brown can be contacted at 377 Quail Hollow Drive, Dadeville AL 36853 or by e-mail at

(c)2005 William B. Brown