The leaves are beginning to change. For it to occur this early in September, the reason might be more the lack of rain than the time of the year.

It is more than leaf color letting me know that fall, if not already here, is only a week or two away. I wear a jacket and a hat each morning when I sit on my front porch. I hope to have another month out here before frost and cold send me indoors. I would prefer to dress for the cold and stay outside, except I can’t easily write longhand or type on my laptop with gloves on. 

Manyu and I no longer have to wait until early evening to walk Jack. Now it is cool enough to take him out just about any time of the day. In fact, if we wait until 7:00 like we were doing only a few weeks ago, it is dark before we finish our walk. On a related matter, the brisk air brings tears to my eyes when I ride my bicycle in the morning.

The tomatoes in my garden are done. I can still get good tomatoes at the farmer’s market for a little longer, but then it will be back to the ones sold in grocery stores. I sometimes wonder who buys tomatoes, zucchinis, or cucumbers at the store during the months of August and September. So many zucchinis go unwanted right now that I have a friend who uses them to feed his chickens.

Fishing should pick up any day now. Also the taste and firmness of autumn fish will make me want to bring some home. Several people have told me that my distaste of Mississippi River fish in the dead of summer is all in my head, but no one will ever convince me that the fillets of fish caught in July and August aren’t mushier and muddier than those caught at other times of the year. In the summer, the perch fillets are as soft as bluegills, the bluegills are as soft as crappies, and the crappies are as unappealing as bass and catfish in any season. I hadn’t realized it until I just wrote the previous sentence, but the taste and texture of fish species are inversely proportional to the fun it is to catch them.

After a summer of having the gym on campus to myself, the college students are back. For the most part, I welcome their return, even though they sometimes camp out to do multiple reps on my favorite pieces of exercise equipment. They also destroy any illusion that I might have about my physical condition. Being in good shape and being in good shape for a guy pushing 70 are not the same thing. 

Summer is my favorite season of the year. If September and October weren’t precursors of what is to come, I might like autumn the best. 

Steven Simpson