The chill in this morning's air signaled that autumn really has arrived. The walk in short sleeves to the end of the driveway to retrieve the morning paper was cold, the temperature below 50. I dug my hands into my pockets. The forecast calls for warming into the upper 70s and even warmer tomorrow.
But autumn surely is here. In the deep black sky this morning, I saw Orion leading his hunting dogs across the celestial sphere. Last night, a half moon shone like a beacon, peeking from behind the pines against the velvet sky.
On Saturday, I had dressed for a warm day on the sunny side of the college football stadium and came home with a "farmer's tan" along my upper arms. But when the sun went down after we arrived in Raleigh later that day for the Bluegrass Festival, the warmth of the sun disappeared, and the brisk breeze blew frigid air that had me wrapping my torso in my arms to keep warm. A borrowed long-sleeve T-shirt gave some relief, even as the musicians on the outdoor stage complained that they were so cold they couldn't feel their fingers.
More warm days are coming, but fall has arrived. Leaves have begun to litter my back yard, and soon they will be as deep as the sea foam at the edge of the surf. I will spend weekend days with a rake in my hand, trying to confine the botanical discards to their assigned places even as a wintry wind stirs them out of place.
Shorter days, harsher light, colder nights are upon us. Today, the briskness is invigorating, but soon the cold will reach my bones, the darkness will shadow my mood, the weather will turn treacherous and we will long for warmth and springtime once again.