Summer is nearly over.
"Noooooooo!" I hear you cry.
I'm sorry, but the undeniable signs are everywhere andndash; and I'm not talking about the "back-to-school" banners at the stores.
I'm speaking of nature's subtle and not-so-subtle signs that the season's end is near andndash; and they seemed to have appeared earlier than normal.
For example, our backyard, which backs up against a stand of towering pine trees, is already covered in a layer of pine needles. I'm accustomed to raking up needles in mid- to late September. Not August!
The deciduous trees are following suit, dropping their fruit and leaves a month early. I doubt the Asian pear tree will bear fruit.
And the spiders! It's not unusual to wake up on a fine, golden fall morning, say in late September or October, to find the bushes festooned with giant-sized spider webs. But in August?!
Even the brilliant sunsets of late seem to have fall-related hues. Am I the only one sensing this all-too-early shift from summer to autumn?
It doesn't help that public school starts on Aug. 31! That's just wrong. School starts in September. Always has, always should.
As of today (Aug. 22), there are nine days of summer left. I know, I know. How can that be? Where did summer go? With the cooler-than-usual weather, it's almost as though we didn't have a summer.
But, I declare, we must not go quietly into our winter of discontent ... or something like that.
In between registering our children for school, buying school supplies, preparing lunch menus and the general rescheduling of our lives, we must seek out a few last-minute summer-time experiences.
Go ahead and float the river one more time. Visit the city swimming pool. Run through the sprinklers. Fill up the kiddie pool. Take one last leap at the slip 'n slide. Buy an ice cream cone and slurp it down before it melts.
Why not stoke up the barbecue one more time. Pitch a tent in the front yard. Build a sandcastle. Fly a kite. Climb a tree.
Do one of these. Do all of these! But do it now before summer ends.
What about our traditional Indian Summer? Hmmm. I wouldn't count on it.
A National Weather Service meteorologist in Medford is forecasting El Niandntilde;o conditions for the Oregon Coast this fall and winter, which means an earlier start of the rainy season and heavier than usual rainfall.
But let's not think of that now! We still have nine days left before school starts andndash; and most of September to enjoy before the rain begins. Come next month, the tourists will have returned home and we'll have the river, beaches and trails to ourselves!
So, tell me, how are you going to spend the last week of summer before school starts? What fun things will you do in September to keep the summer fun going?
E-mail your answer to email@example.com and I'll publish them in a future column.
We might not be able to ignore the signs of summer's end, but we can use them to fuel summer's last blast.
I will not go quietly!