It came on the heels of a hurricane, the mercurial Isaias. After I’d pulled the porch furniture from out of the shed and emptied the johnboat of a few inches of wind-driven sticks and leaves, I stood in the yard for a moment, trying to put my finger on it. Something was different. Something had changed.
There was just the slightest little snap in the air. A cool(ish) breeze ruffled the redbud leaves so they showed their whitish undersides.
Minnie looked up at me. I think she sensed it, too.
“Feel that?” I asked. She’s one of those Labs that can’t just wag her tail. She wagged her entire body, like a salmon in the shallows of a gravelbar.
She felt it. She knows.
The first cool breeze of fall slipped in when August wasn’t looking.
It won’t last. Not for a day, probably not for an hour. But for a moment, my skin prickled, and not because I’m chilly. But because I know what’s coming.
It’s an old saying straight out of the Farmer’s Almanac:
When leaves show their undersides, be very sure that rain betides.
Yet it wasn’t a thundershower Minnie and I felt in the offing, but a storm of fowl. The brief zephyr blowing through the backyard was just the vanguard of the cold fronts and pressure ridges and polar vortexes to come. And somewhere up there—everywhere up there—they’re massing on the leading edge of autumn. Feathered clouds building on the horizon. And soon enough, the skies will rain.