A Change is in The Air
By G. E. Shuman
Have you noticed it yet? If not, you need to get outside and do so. I’m talking about the very recent change in the air here in the North. Have you felt it? The first thing this morning, as I was carrying my wife’s long little dog out to the end of our long front porch, for her morning ‘constitutional’ – or pee, whichever you prefer – on the side lawn, I sensed that something was different. (By the way, have you ever picked up a dachshund by the middle? It’s a little like picking up a furry snake, if there was such a thing as a furry snake. What I mean is that both ends kind of hang down.) Anyway, it had rained in the night, but this morning something was going on that seemed to be more than just the effects of rain. The outdoors seemed quite cool, and clean, and refreshing. The air was clear, to the point that the bushes, trees, and even the houses down the street actually appeared brighter than usual. I momentarily wondered if someone had cleaned my glasses without my knowledge, in the night. Then, as I thought about the people who live in my home, and the fact that I don’t really believe in eyeglasses-cleaning elves, I soon dismissed that idea as being highly unlikely.
For some strange reason, this year I seem to be noticing changes in the seasons more than I remember doing in the past. Yes, my memory of other years, or lack thereof, could account for this, but I don’t think so. This spring I actually noticed the buds on our lilac bushes when they first appeared; I also kept watch of the daily changes in our maple trees, as the first signs of budding life quickly burst into full-blown, huge, green leaves. It’s amazing how quickly that happens. It’s a little faster than watching kids grow up, but not much. Maybe it is just my age, and/or that memory thing. Perhaps we humans begin to take things in more, to enjoy this big roller coaster ride of life more, as we start to see that the length of the track ahead is shorter than that which is behind. I’m not sure, but I would like to think that that is the case.
Whatever the cause, it was not just my usual armchair philosophizing (better use the ol’ spell checker on that last word) that got me to notice the change in the air this morning. It really has become cooler and clearer lately. This is not to say that we will have no more hot and humid days before fall truly hits, but they will be fewer and farther between in the coming weeks than in those recently passed.
Now, you may have noticed that I seem quite okay with this new cooling and cleansing of the air. That is because I am. Summer is wonderful, and I still intend to get some color on this sagging body of mine before the long nights of winter arrive, but that refreshing air is just what the doctor, and my overworked air conditioners ordered, this morning. This morning reminded me of an uncle of mine who transplanted his family to Florida many years ago. He once told me, in the Maine accent which has never left him, that the thing he misses most about the North is that we have ‘real’ air here; that it is easier to breathe here. I had never thought of that. It’s funny that the quality of something as all-encompassing as the very air around us could go completely unnoticed and unappreciated, until this morning, at least by me, and probably by many others.
The ‘spice of life’ changes, embodied in our northern, seasonal weather variations will not disappoint us in the coming weeks. It will soon be sweatshirt and sneaker weather, as fall ‘springs’ forth, so to speak, in all her glory. The crunch of dry leaves underfoot, and the scent of a neighbor’s wood stove laboring away will be back before you know it. So, I hope you will take the time to get outside and notice… a change is, truly, in the air.
“George’s World,” a new 740 page collection of George’s columns from The World, is available at xlibris.com, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and your favorite bookstore. “The Smoke And Mirrors Effect,” George’s first novel, can be seen at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. Happy Reading!