Where did the summer go?

Luther Dorr

Squirrels scurry about the yard, hiding the acorns they will dig up when the weather turns warm again.

Leaves, drying out from a much-needed autumn rain last week, blow gently down the streets, streets that have witnessed the toppling of century-old trees during storms of the past two decades.

And the sun, which would have dried those leaves more quickly just a month ago, dips to the horizon just about supper time, hours earlier than those short months ago when we felt its heat until after 9 p.m.

Where did the summer go?

Covers go on air conditioners, gardens are dismantled, leaves are raked and, yes, at some houses, screens are replaced by storm windows, a reminder of times gone by. Not many people have to worry anymore about matching the number on the window with the number on the sill.

There is the occasional and pleasing smell of leaves burning, something no longer allowed in cities that once prided themselves on the old, majestic trees that  have sent tens and tens of thousands  of leaves tumbling to the ground each fall. Many of those old sentinels will bud out again in the spring and the cycle will commence once again.

Tables and chairs on patios are covered, grills are covered or stored, and hoses are taken inside for a six-month hiatus that ends when lawns and gardens need them most.

Where did the summer go?

The sound of cheering on Friday nights at the local football field is over. Two months ago the sun was shining brightly when the opening kickoff came but now the lights that cast a familiar glow on the manicured patch of sod are much needed, darkness falling before the games begin. And at Homecoming tales were again told of years past, the touchdown runs becoming a little longer each year if someone will listen.

Cemeteries are cleared of flowers from the summer, only to appear again as Memorial Day arrives next May and thoughts turn to loved ones no longer with us, especially those who served in the military, perhaps in a far-off country. Now there are only memories

Where did the summer go?

Heads turn upward as the sound of geese heading south is heard, the V-shaped formations stretching through the sky. For many the thoughts of deer hunting are uppermost, the season just around the corner.

Most of the corn and soybeans, in this year of a bumper crop in Minnesota, have been harvested, the emptiness of those fields serving as a reminder that soon there will be snow there. And the days will be shorter and the nights longer.

Where did the summer go?

Baseball has ended with a shortened World Series, high school football is over for all but 96 schools in Minnesota, wrestling is taking hold again in Milaca, and basketball and the other winter sports are now only weeks away as we are reminded that we’re going from one season to another.

Looking across a lake, at times a soothing experience in the summer heat, becomes even better in the fall as nature does its thing to the leaves. On a windless day the lake mirrors the panorama of colors that gives us something to look forward to each fall, the season that tells us summer has ended.

Where did the summer go?

Mittens, scarves and hats come out of the closet, especially when the first, but quickly disappearing, snowflakes tumble to the ground, as they did last week. There’s little doubt now – summer’s gone and fall is speeding us inexorably toward winter.

Dark clouds have hung ominously low in the gray October sky, tentative raindrops spattering last week against leaves that have fallen on the green carpet of grass that held out bravely, if hopelessly, against the change in seasons.

Many of us hope winter doesn’t set in early. But if it does, spring will soon beckon with its new beginnings and soon it will be summer, and then fall. The cycle of life will have come full circle again.

And we’ll say once again: Where did the summer go?