Summer is nearly over.

I know what most of you are thinking: "What summer?"

Sorry, but it's true; school starts in less than two weeks and the undeniable signs are everywhere.

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 end is near andndash; like the layer of pine needles covering my back deck.

Our backyard abuts a stand of towering pine trees, and I'm accustomed to raking up needles in mid- to late September. Not August!

The deciduous trees, including the fruit trees that never produced this summer, are following suit, dropping their leaves a month early. I doubt the Asian pear tree will bear fruit.

Even the brilliant sunsets of late seem to have fall-related hues. Am I the only one sensing this all-to-early shift from summer to autumn?

As of today (Aug. 28), there are 10 days until school starts. I know, I know. 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 those few, precious, 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 ride on the slip 'n slide. Buy an ice cream cone and slurp it down before it melts.

Stoke up the barbecue one more time. Pitch a tent in the front yard. Build a sand castle. Fly a kite. Climb a tree.

Do one of these. Do all of these! But do it now before summer ends.

But wait! What about our traditional Indian Summer? Hmmm. I wouldn't count on it.

A National Weather Service meteorologist in Medford is forecasting La Nina conditions for the Oregon Coast this fall and winter, which means moderate to intense rainfall.

Sigh. I hope he's wrong.

But let's not think of that now. We still have 10 days left. In fact, now that I think of it, don't let the start of school spoil the fun. We will have all of September to enjoy. By then, most of 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 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 as an incentive to squeeze every bit of fun from these waning days of bliss.

I will not go quietly!


Update: In my last column I urged readers to go to the kitchen cupboards, find General Mills products, clip the pink and white Box Top tabs and send them to the Pilot or to Kalmiopsis Elementary School. Gathered in great numbers, the box tops can generate hundreds or thousands of dollars for the school to buy much needed classroom supplies, computers and so on.

On Monday, a woman stopped by the Curry Coastal Pilot office to deliver a plastic bag filled with 34 box tops! I don't know who the person was, but thank you!

Check those cupboards and keeps those Box Tops coming. I will deliver them personally to the school.