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Posts Tagged ‘leaves’

Autumn seems to be a favorite season for many people (myself included), especially in the Midwest. After enduring mind-boggling heat and humidity levels on a par with the Deep South, we finally get some relief. The air feels crisp, fresh and alive. Fall is filled with new smells – out with the fetid garbage languishing in the alleys, and in with the spicy smells of oaks, the woodsmoke from chimneys and the first whiffs of holiday baking. Kids walking home from school go out of their way to schlump through the leaves, and…wait a minute…where are the leaves?

I know there is no such thing, really, as “normal” weather. Chicago, and the Midwest in general, is known for its weather extremes. Twenty below is cold, a hundred above is hot, and we’ve had both and everything in between. But things really do seem to be changing. It used to snow, for example. Now it rains in January. I have witnessed hail on four occasions in the past year and a half, and only remember seeing hail a handful of times in my life prior to that.

I like weather; I like living in a place where the seasons change, and often dramatically. Ever since I was a kid, weather and seasonal changes have been important to me. I haven’t taken any official polls or anything, but I think I might be a little more preoccupied with the weather than your normal average person. Over the years I’ve noticed some things, one of them being that November 1st, the day we’re busy nursing our candy hangovers and trying to scrub off the last remnants of face paint, almost perfectly coincides with the falling of the last few lonely leaves. The wind starts to blow, sending little mini-tornadoes of leaves scattering down the sidewalk and then, whoosh – in what seems like the blink of an eye, it suddenly looks like…November. Except for this year. This is what it looks like from my back balcony today (well, yesterday afternoon, but it still looks like this):

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Granted, there are several glorious gold and red maples up and down the street, but that just started happening in the past ten days or so. It just feels so…wrong. Monday was 66 degrees, yesterday was 60 and…it’s halfway to December! I’m not usually impressed one way or the other when people use their own weather memories and experiences to guide them in their feelings about climate change. So this isn’t really about that. It’s just…I miss fall.

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