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Although we are approaching a full month past the first official day of fall, the gods of autumn seem to be lolling around in Speedos, soaking up the last of summer’s rays. In other words, it’s been a mercifully slow transition. Here in the Centennial State, we have been enjoying warm weather, azure skies, and leaf colors that rival many states with a far larger deciduous contingent.
Yes, I’m thankful for this Indian Summer, which, by the way, since that term has its theoretical origins in Native Americans attacking European settlers and vice versa, I am determined to toss out, and use the more ancient and agriculturally based term, St. Martin’s Summer, or the Latvian term “Atvasara”, meaning “flashback of summer”. Political correctness and semantics aside, it has been lovely. But loveliness tinged with that sense of foreboding, with that feeling that something is following you, but if you don’t look over your shoulder, it won’t actually be there, that all of us who find ourselves plunged into the depths of winter despair and cold-bruised joints experience.
It is out there. And it is coming.
We’ve been lucky. Most years, by now we’ve seen at least one snowstorm. Green grass is a memory and leaves are not just off the trees but bagged up as landfill fodder. Right now, I can still see the grass, and I have not yet reached the place where I am staring at brown and longing for spring, except in the dead cornfields I pass on the way home.
And there is one last holdout from our always-too-short summer. Okay, two holdouts. One is inside my sunroom, and the other is outside my bedroom window.
They are both crickets.
There are seemingly two crickets left in all of Colorado, and I’ve got ’em. They compete with one another, their chirps feeble and
fading, like a couple of little old men trying to outdo each other in tall-tale-telling before their lungs give out.
I recall last fall, towards the end, the end of everything, when my ex-flame watered the last crickets of summer to keep them alive just a little longer. I recall when I was small and my Mother had a “cricket cup” to catch the crickets that would infiltrate the beach house in the summer and drive us crazy with their songs at night. I recall listening to them with an overwhelming sense of relief as they first chirped in the spring in the fields outside of the Cottage.
These two hang on by a transparent thread, trying to resist death from chill nights and chillier rains. I empathize with them, and hope the chillest of winds, hearts, and fates are gentle with me in the approaching winter – much gentler than last. I have hope and faith to help me through, and the echo of their song to keep me warm. And the certain knowledge that this season
will pass into a new spring, and the crickets will play again.