Fall blows in

Fall in these northern parts really starts mid- to late-August. Sometimes I am so busy, though, that I miss the signals. And sometimes I close my eyes to the changes, hoping to stretch out the glories of summer just a little bit longer.

I plead guilty to both this year. Much of my blindness to the change came from my wish for another weekend or two of sailing. But then my boss, who lives on the river, remarked that water levels had gone down. I relayed the news to Robert, and we realized that we had to get down to the boat. We remembered last year, when Robert had to winch the boat out of the muck at the end of the season.

We got down too late in the day Saturday to go out on the water. There was little or no wind, the clouds were dark gray, and the water levels were on their way down. As we sat in the cockpit, we talked about our schedules, and realized this was it. It was time to take down the sails. We aired them, then lowered them down and stuffed them into their bags before the rains came again.

Sunday we cleaned the boat, inside and out. I am quite certain we spent more time cleaning than sailing this year. Then we motored her to the other side of Clayton, to her winter home. As we tied up, another boater remarked that everyone should be tying up very securely, because Ike was going to sweep up the St. Lawrence River that night. We put five lines on the boat.

Ike did sweep through the area last night, with winds up to 50 miles an hour or so. We lost power about 3 a.m. When I got to work, there was no power there either. It made for a quiet morning. Eventually the power came back, the computers came to life, and it was business as usual.

Driving home, it hit me. It's fall. It's been fall. The songbirds are gone, and the ferns are yellow.

As I drove up the last hill before home, the power utility truck was at the pole, about to set the fuse for the spur that feeds our home energy. When I opened the door, the refrigerator was humming. The wind has stopped blowing for now, and here I am, in a new season.

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