Yesterday I walked to and from the office with temperatures in the 20s and a sharp, cutting wind reddening my face and sending my suddenly flimsy raincoat flapping around my legs.
This morning I woke up and, as I stood in our warm kitchen sipping a blessedly hot cup of coffee, I heard rain on the roof. I looked out into the backyard in the pre-dawn darkness and saw the glittering evidence of the Queen Mother of Crappy Weather on every plant, tree, shrub, and fencepost. Yes, that’s right — a dreaded onslaught of freezing rain has coated every object in ice. Freezing rain, for those lucky people who’ve never experienced it, means that it’s not quite cold enough for precipitation to fall as snow, but just cold enough for the rain to turn to ice once it hits the ground. It’s the worst winter weather of all because it’s cold, and wet, and frozen all at once, and it means the commute this morning will be slick and treacherous for drivers and pedestrians alike. There’s a breeze, too, and the weather page helpfully reports that it feels like 22 degrees out there.
It’s the kind of weather that makes February in Columbus inarguably the worst weather month of the year. But, it’s only November 15. Hey, Mother Nature! What gives?
We’ve once again experienced an abrupt mash-up of the seasons here in the Midwest. True fall weather has been fleeting, and it seems like we’ve moved directly and too quickly into winter. For those people, like me, who think autumn is the best season of the year — well, we feel cheated. We know Old Man Winter is going to arrive sooner or later, but can’t he at least wait until after we’ve had our Thanksgiving dinner before he hits us with freezing rain and another round of “wintry mix”?
If you’re in the Midwest, brace yourself, because it’s too cold too soon . . . again.
I was treated to this beautiful autumn scene of fallen, and falling, leaves on my way to work this morning. Unfortunately, it was about 26 freaking degrees and a bone-chilling arctic gale was blowing, too.
This illustrates the hard reality of our modern “seasons.” There is no fall anymore, not the kind that we remember — when the sky was clear and bright and dry, the temperatures were in the 50s, leaves crunched underfoot, and sweaters were the apparel of choice. There’s no spring, either. Just hot summer and cold winter, with about a week separating them on each end.
Too bad . . . I liked autumn.
A walk around Schiller Park this morning tells you everything you need to know about why autumn is Kish’s and my favorite season of the year. It’s just fabulous out there.
The leaves that have already fallen crunch underfoot. The walker kicks through the leaf piles, sending acorns skittering across the pavement. There’s a faint tang of wood smoke in the crisp, clear air, and the leaves give off their own spicy scent. And everywhere the trees are bursting with color when they are struck by the morning sunshine.
It’s orange season!
The Nut Zone is not a place that relates in any way to the current presidential campaign. No, it’s found in our backyard during the autumn months.
An enormous black walnut tree hovers over our backyard. During the summer, it provides welcome shade. When fall comes, however, the tree drops tangerine-sized nuts, ready to bean any unsuspecting visitor. You’re sitting, casually trying to enjoy the last few rays of sunshine before the cold fronts move in — then suddenly the wind ruffles the tree branches, and the bombardment begins. Nuts drop to the ground, clanging off lawn furniture and bouncing off flagstones, startling the unwary, and you realize that but for good fortune they might dent your noggin and leave you dazed and spreadeagled on the cooling ground.
Well, maybe it is a bit like the presidential campaign, now that you mention it.
We’ve had a few days where the overnight temperatures have dropped into the 40s. The leaves on the trees at Schiller Park are just starting to turn, and the mums are in their full glory. This morning the air was crisp, and it felt invigorating to take some deep breaths as I walked around the park.
If you don’t feel stimulated by autumn in the Midwest, there’s something wrong with you. It’s the best season of the year.
In the Midwest, it’s time to break out the pumpkins, gourds . . . And sweaters. I like the weird, warty gourds best.