I still think of fall the way it was when I grew up in the South. The weather grew gradually cooler, the leaves turned red and gold and brown, and slow, heavy rains washed them off the trees. By late November the leaves were gone, the branches “bare ruined choirs” as the poem says, and we settled in for the chill of winter. I don’t recall violent storms or tornados once we were past the summer.
Living closer to the ocean has taught me about hurricanes and tropical storms. I always pictured them as a phenomenon of Florida or the Gulf Coast. Picture Bogie and Bacall in “Key Largo” (a really great movie to watch during hurricane season.) Until recent years I never realized those storms could do damage not only at the shore, but several miles inland. They can even carry their violence and damage for hundreds of miles from the ocean. Who knew? I saw it last year outside my window, watching the Hudson River overflow its banks during Superstorm Sandy.
So now the fall brings with it a shiver of unease. I hadn’t really thought about it until some friends were discussing the date of the village Halloween parade for this year and how it’s been cancelled for the last two years, due to a snowstorm (yes!) and then Sandy last year. Another friend remarked about the storm that roared through yesterday, “Trees are not our friends.”
But today is a placid, blue-sky autumn day. No signs of clouds or winds or witches on broomsticks blown past the window. A perfect day to sky-write, “Surrender, Dorothy.”