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Saturday, August 05, 2006

Late Summer

It's amazing how things can turn on a dime. Four days ago I was helping a friend move from one second-floor apartment to another in 100-degree heat. The next morning my cross-country team had its weekly long run, and it was well over 80 degrees at 8:30 AM.

Tonight I got two large pizzas and a 12-pack of beer and camped out at the in-laws pool. The katydids were humming, it cooled off to a very comfortable temperature by 6 PM, and it no longer seemed inappropriate to listen to A Prarie Home Companion. The leaves on the black walnut tree in my front yard have already begun to fall. These are the ways we know in northern Ohio that summer is almost over and school is ready to start.

Around here, spring is unpredictable, summer is glorious if hot and suffocatingly humid, while autumn is the absolute best time of the year. It's cross country, football, a new school year ripe with opportunity, Homecoming, corn mazes, Halloween, Ohio State v. Michigan, Thanksgiving. It's beautiful colors and the best weather of the year, even if it doesn't last near long enough. With all these wonderful things coming, the last days of summer are a sad time. Hot fun in the summer sun is almost over, and soon Old Man Winter will take his icy grip and give us dark, cold, windy days of endless depression that make running off to Key West and working in a bait shop look like a winning career goal.

I've never spent more than two weeks at a time of my entire life outside of the Upper Midwest's weather pattern, and my home for most of the last seventeen years has been this little college town. A year from now Mrs. Superfan will have her Ph.D. and we'll be moving on to somewhere else, and at this point we haven't the foggiest idea where that will be. So I'm trying to savor every season of the year around my home as if it were my last, but it's not easy. Because, you see, it's not where you are that's so important as much as where you're headed.

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