It came on the heels of a hurricane, the mercurial Isaias. After Id 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. Shes one of those Labs that cant 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 wasnt looking.

It wont last. Not for a day, probably not for an hour. But for a moment, my skin prickled, and not because Im chilly. But because I know whats coming.

Its an old saying straight out of the Farmers Almanac:

When leaves show their undersides, be very sure that rain betides.

Yet it wasnt 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 thereeverywhere up theretheyre massing on the leading edge of autumn. Feathered clouds building on the horizon. And soon enough, the skies will rain.