Rockin’ Early Fall Pneumonia and West Nile Virus Blues

by Christine Adams Beckett

It seems a true insult to every Montclair citizen that we should be bothered by the hinderances of summer in September, when we return to our work from our August break.  It would be entirely more fitting to get back to work in spiffy autumnal outfits, wool and tweed, instead of cotton and linen, drenched by the still rising mercury.  To feel the encroaching colder weather on our cheeks rather than the stale, hot humidity of a solstice not yet fully turned would be entirely more motivating.  Instead, we endure the fringes of  summer without any of the benefits.  Rubber flip flops are shoved to the back of the closet, and our sensible work shoes have painfully taken their place, our sweaty feet causing blisters on our softened heels.

Responsibilities are piled on our dusty desks in reams of papers, bills and permission slips, ignored for weeks.  Beach bags filled with towels and sunscreen lay pointlessly by our back doors, a painful hinderance for those of us hastily ushering children out the door for school, taking up too much real estate for back packs or briefcases to be easily grabbed at a God Awful 7 AM.

The geraniums, quite literally dying for rain,  are wilted and scarcely fill our neglected planters.  Too early to plant our Fall mums, better left for post-equinox purchase, the life cycle of the hearty plant wouldn’t make it to Halloween from early September.  The town pools are closed, and our backyards are teeming with mosquitoes, blood-sucking, virus-laden tiny beasts who play the part of a microscopic vampire with ease.  Tiny Count Draculas have left our skin laden with welts, swollen bumps of blood-streaked scratches making our stockingless legs look angry.

This seasonal purgatory could entice us to pray for the first hard frost, to kill the insects and usher in a whole new season of nuisances.   But the relative autumnal cold is overshadowed by the benefits of our time on Earth spent slanted away from our sun: brilliant leaves the color of gold and fire, blue jeans and hot spiced chai, ripe apples, Bosc pears and children dancing in costumes on a suburban street lined with illuminated jack-o-lanterns and soft porch lights.

Bring it on, I say.  We’ll save the complaints about the lingering cold for late March, when a snow storm always seems to hit on the first day of Spring, killing the crocus already bloomed under the mulberry tree in our back garden.