Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Indian Summer?

I want to protest the brevity of this year’s Indian summer.  I have looked forward to Indian summer each fall. When the days become short and chilly, though the leaves are gorgeous, I must fight sadness and the urge to hibernate. Knowing there’ll be that reprieve of warm days before true cold sinks in keeps me hopeful until the holiday excitement takes over.

Some people told me we were having Indian summer in October. Nonsense!  I learned as a Girl Scout that first we needed a frost.  The Farmers’ Almanac says, “The time of occurrence is important: The warm days must follow a spell of cold weather or a good hard frost,” and that it comes after St. Martin’s Day, November 11th.

Most years that frost is a snap of cold one night that kills the late tomato and pepper plants, the begonias and nasturtium, and the delicate herbs like basil.  This year’s frost was colder, harder and longer, wilting even the hardier vegetables like kale, carrot tops and parsley and fusing dead tomato stems in the earth.  
And worse!—this year’s Indian summer lasted merely one glorious day and one day less lovely, but nevertheless warm.

But it would not be fair to protest to Mother Nature. She has every right to give us only a short respite after the first frost. After all, we've taken the carbon out of her earth, sent it into the atmosphere and upset her carefully balanced weather. Until we find a way to appease her, we’ll have to accept what she sends—including today’s dumping of snow, just in time for Thanksgiving.

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