August 14, 2010

Precursor to autumn

After a record-breaking string of 90+ degree days (including many that were 100+) accompanied by a drought that brought local rivers to depths of less than two feet, capped off by one day of thunderstorms of biblical proportions, the mid-Atlantic region got a break this weekend.  Today was supposed to be mostly sunny with periods of clouds, and temps in the 80's.  Instead, we had consistently cloudy skies with a cool breeze.  Normally that sort of sky turns me lethargic, but the cooler air was inviting so I stopped myself from thinking of things like easy chairs and coffee shops and books, and instead directed my body to mindlessly go through the process of getting bike and gear ready to go.  

Considering that today was Saturday I expected the rail-trail and towpath at Hancock to be packed, but the lowering clouds apparently had the sort of effect on everyone else that they normally have on me.  There were few other cyclists to dodge, which was a pleasant surprise that helped me to quickly get into a smooth rhythm.  

Now, while I love a good equinox as much as the next person, I'm convinced that the seasons don't follow the earth's rotational phases as much as they do the human-defined calendar.  Autumn is September, October, and November, which means today was the beginning of the end of summer.  The air was the sort of temperature that you don't even feel against your skin.  And the trail was gorgeous under the dim light of the cloudy sky.  Without the glare of a blazing sun or the haze of humidity, the surrounding trees were softer yet at the same time more distinct.  Added to this was the rustle of leaves under my tires, though these leaves were drought-deadened and knocked to the ground by the recent storms, rather than autumn-turned.  The effect was the same, though, summoning that feeling of transition, one season ending as another begins, both exciting and melancholy at the same time.  That simple, wonderful feeling I've gotten at this time of year, every year since I was a kid.

Though could someone please explain to me why I always end up riding through mud the very next day after I've cleaned my bike?



Story teller said...

I love reading about the weather.

Here it has been very moist but with no rain. There has been plenty of rain in near by areas, but here I have seen only a few showers. People are excited, I hear of planting season for the winter crops, although I know nothing of planting or crops. The skies are perenially overcast with clouds of various hues of grey. The days of summer with a blue sky and white clouds seems like a distant dream. Each day the clould get darker and more menacing. I haven't seen the sky in a while. The winds warn of rain, the temperature erattically peaks and falls. I hope and look out for the thunder and lightning. I know it will be here... soon...

One poet described the onset of the monsoon here as the masculine monsoon deflowering the virgin earth every year. WOW!

Good luck with cleaning the bike in the future. Perhaps you should adopt a more lazy attitude and stop washing it!!!!!!!!!!

birds fly said...

Ha, you beat me to the punch. I just sat down to write a "welcome autumn" post. I can feel it..right around the corner.

KaliDurga said...

Story teller, how long does your monsoon season last once it begins? As difficult as this over-bearingly hot summer has been, I think I could deal with that more easily than an entire season of rain.

I think, by and large, that most people would consider monsoonal rains to be cleansing, or even purging, rather than deflowering. I wonder about that poet's sexual preoccupation.

And actually, I am very lazy about cleaning the bike. There is a basis in truth to the phrase, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease..." that very much applies in my situation.

birds fly said...

Agreed...although it makes the season that much more bittersweet.

The Crow said...

Fall has always been my favorite time of year and I wax nostalgic every September for new shoes, new crayons and pencils...still waiting to grow up I guess.

This song has made me a Whaite Stripes fan. Listened to other of their music on YouTube after listeneing to this one - cool group!

KaliDurga said...

New shoes, crayons, and pencils-- Exactly! Glad you're enjoying the Stripes, Martha. This particular song is so sweet, makes for an interesting contrast to some of their louder stuff.