Sunday, November 25, 2007

What To Wear?

On the NBC Nightly News the other evening anchor Brian Williams was bemoaning the lack of autumn here in the northeast.

Au contraire!

Autumn is here. It hass been here for almost two months. And from the looks of things will be still with us several weeks from now. In fact we may never get rid of this friggin' season. Beware - the other effects of global warming will be nothing compared to those of the Endless Autumn.

Or maybe it just seems that way. They (whoever they may be) apparently don't keep records of such things. I searched on Google for "latest new england autumn" and got a bunch of travel planning and photographic web sites - but no log of start and end dates of the season. The closest that I found was a statement on the "" home page that said "Color may begin to appear in isolated spots in far northern New England the first week in September. Typically, the color change begins at the higher elevations and in the northern part of the region mid-September and moves southward through mid-to-late October, ending in southern New England coastal areas at the end of October."

It is now the last week of November with high temperatures projected in the mid forties (on the warm days) and right out my window I am looking at an oak tree that, while its leaves have turned golden brown, evinces zero interest in dropping any of them any time soon. This morning we saw a bright yellow multi-story maple with about fifty percent of its leaves covering a lawn and the remainder calmly hanging on. Other maples are still summer-green and full to the brim. Burning Bushes are pretty much intact and all ablaze with color.

Meanwhile all of the trees in our yard - elm, maple and oaks - have denuded themselves, and last weekend I took my magic-mulching-mower and ground the last of their output into my lawn. Now all I have to dispose of are the late-dropping, wind-blown fronds from my various neighbors that have found their way into our yard at a rate roughly twice that of what my own trees did.

Wethersfield is located probably two thirds of the way between far northern isolated and coastal which, by the "" paradigm, would make our season from early to latish October.

I would say that seems just about right - at least the way I remember - which seems to be by what I wore rather than what the date was. I cannot for example recall needing to dress as warmly for leaf wrangling, as I undoubtably will for my next round of it. "They" evidently don't keep detailed statistics equating clothes-worn to weather-warmness either, so I am probably not one hundred percent certain. And I know that it has to get really cold for leaf-dropping to begin. I recall several years ago going out for any early morning run at the end of a below freezing night and being startled by the sound of shimmering yellow Gingko leaves cascading down from the two Maidenhair trees on our street. By the end of my run however the sun had warmed my bare legs and tee-shirted torso to a state of over-heatedness.

I think of the appropriate leaf wrangler outfit as corduroy slacks with a flannel shirt over a tee shirt - with the upper body outer layer coming off about midway through the sunlit exertions. That's definitely not going to happen in the next couple of weeks.

Which is really a shame. It was one of the few clothing outfits that I had down pat. The weight and warmth were just right, and the bright colors of the soft-woven cotton melded aesthetically with the equally striking hues of the landscape - the perfect autumn camouflage.

First it was "dress down days" followed by "fulltime business casual". Now it’s "global warming enduced endless autumn". No wonder even the trees can't figure out what is the right thing to wear.

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