The Farmer’s Almanac has been around for 196 years. Some people swear by it when it comes to predicting the weather. I have another simpler, more direct method. Just watch for the animals to go crazy.
It started over the past week or so. First, the bees decided that instead of keeping to themselves and the odd plate of food left out at a barbecue, they should swarm and attack anything that didn’t look like air. Drinks, clothes, legs, anything that vaguely reminded them of something to eat became a target. For most of the “summer” you could enjoy sitting outside for more than 5 minutes without having to play “Statue, Swat or Sprint” in their presence. (I’m more of a statue myself, but it’s always fun to watch someone do a wriggling arm-tucking avoidance while trying to hold their plate of potato salad…)
Then there are the birds. I’m not sure what time they think they have to be up in the morning, but it’s not before the sun comes up. In line with that, it’s fine if they’re awake, but they really don’t have to be making all that noise talking to each other. Maybe they’re screaming at each other about how cold it’s going to get soon, maybe they heard a really funny bird joke. Either way, the volume and consistency of their chatter has increased about five-fold in the last five days. They’re preparing for something, whether it be seasonal or world domination. Unless they’re Blue Jays, in which case, they’ve been slowing fading since the All-Star break.
The squirrels have become more suicidal. Apparently they have to get that nut on the other side of the road right now, and have to wait until your car is about 5 feet away from their path before darting out to reach it. It could be their own version of American Squirrel Ninja for all we know, all I know is I’ve seen a lot more stiff tails on the road since the calendar changed over.
Even the indoor animals are getting squirrelly. Normally the cats in our place know three modes: Sleep, eat, and prolonged-extended-blackout-sleep. Suddenly they’re shedding an extra full cat’s worth of hair each day. Shadows and lights that were calmly ignored but two weeks ago are vicious intruders that must be vexed and extinguished at a moment’s notice. There is never enough food. Ok, that last one is a constant, but the increase in early morning meowing has not gone unnoticed. It’s been ignored, but not unnoticed.
The final animal to help you note the changing of the season: The human. It’s easy enough to see when you take a look around…an increase in layers, exponentially more closed toed shoes and socks being thrown on, a threefold increase in the consumption of any and all things pumpkin or spice, or both. The vocalization also increases in the human, and can be broken into two categories: The lover and the hater.
The lover needs to spread the word about the amazing awesomeness that is Fall approaching. They love Fall. They can’t wait to take out the Fall decorations (strangely enough they usually revolve around fake leaves inside the house, when many will soon be available for free on the ground just outside the door.) They want to burn candles and wear layers and turn everything harvest yellow and orange and red and rotting brown. Never enough sweaters. Never too much blanket time. The lover is easily picked out from the drone-ish macabre that is the hater.
The hater is sad. Mournful. Still flip-flopped despite the slow-leaking temperatures. Still clinging to their shorts and t-shirts, usually for heat. Constantly scanning the extended forecast looking for any sign of lingering summer heat. They look disjointed. Defeated. Sad. They are internally skipping the impending season and looking ahead to the one that approaches beyond. For them, Winter is always coming.
These are but a few of the animals we can observe to secure ourselves in the knowledge that yes, Summer is coming to an end, and yes, Fall is right around the corner. The final two are the ones we get to choose to become. I have already made my choice.
I am the lover. If only for the sports.