Among the hot things I enjoy are heated seats in the car, steaming coffee, and a roaring, crackling fire. Not on the list is a succession of humid, scorching days that burned perpetually watered gardens, and kept me wistfully but sensibly off the golf course, bike path, and tennis court on days that looked perfect, until I checked the thermometer.
Yet on September 18, this run appeared to be over. Prepared to golf against a fifteen mile per hour wind, with temperatures in the fifties, and fashionably wrapped in four layers to begin the experience, my friends and I huddled in the starter’s plexiglass-covered gazebo. I wryly suggested that at times like these, the Park District might consider serving hot toddies on each tee box.
Optimistically, we trudged the front nine. We chided ourselves that in January, these conditions would be tantalizing; but it was a hard sell, to trade summer’s humidity and perspiration for stiffening hands and running noses. On some holes, wind at our backs, quilted vest were tossed into bags. Rounding the corner to face a gale we layered up again. So it went for over two hours.
Once home, I shiver in the kitchen. Edging reluctantly over to the thermostat, I flick on the heat, then turn to ponder the garden, my harbinger of change.
The weeping Japanese maple leaves sport ruby and rust; sedum, a dusty rose, peek out behind its trunk. Blue phlox hold onto summer, while ornamental cabbage and chrysanthemums protest that it is their time to shine. I place the Halloween crow ornament in the garden; resist imagining the use of a leaf collection notice so early in the season; and eye the pile of autumn decor beyond my basement step, waiting to be distributed around the house.
A summer so long, so hot, so intense, flees with one cold snap. Yet with each waning day, indoor tasks fall to the wayside when warm sunshine beckons.