May 23, 2013
Written by Joe Pisani
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 16:11
Every so often, there’s a season we want to forget because it was so miserable. But bad memories never die.
I can still remember that hideous summer growing up in the backwoods of Shelton when a gypsy moth infestation defoliated every tree in the then-known universe. It was like a Stephen King novel.
We spent weeks stepping on caterpillars and listening to the constant sound of them munching leaves. Millions of caterpillars, and there was nothing we could do to curb their appetite. In fact, they were so hungry we feared that humans might become their second course.
Then, there was the long, torturous winter a few years ago when snow was piled more than eight feet high along the sides of our barn in New Hampshire, and the plowing bills, alone, could have paid my daughter’s tuition.
Not to be forgotten was the autumn when the leaves didn’t turn colors but just got brown and fell off the trees because — I can never get this right — there was too much rain or not enough rain. And what about that spring when the pollen count was so high there was a pandemic of runny noses sweeping Connecticut, made worse by a Kleenex shortage.
By every measure, this summer will pass into that pantheon of misery and mayhem and angst. Political squabbling. Stores closing. People getting laid off. Constant torrential rain. Does it get any better?
I’m convinced some undefined cosmic principle causes it to rain on the weekends and the sun to return on Monday morning. The only exception to that rule being when you decide to take a vacation and it rains the entire week. Despite the great deals, people were traveling less, probably because they had to make COBRA payments.
Our tomatoes and blueberry bushes had the worst crop ever, and after the birds, deer and woodchucks did their damage, an invasion of earwigs began. The most pleasant thing about this summer was the unending debate on national health care.
But summer is over, kids are back in school, and the commuter trains are crowded again. The daylillies are dying even though the health care debate refuses to.
The maple trees at the end of our street turned orange early and are losing their leaves, and there’s the smell of autumn in the air. Occasionally, I detect the faint scent of a fireplace at night when the smoke comes circling out of a chimney and reminds me winter is on the way.
When that autumn smell arrives, I think of my early years as a teacher when I’d suffer anxiety attacks at the thought of returning to the classroom. I knew my life was about to change, and there was nothing more unsettling than change.
Just remember, though, that you’re given a limited number of summers and winters, springs and falls, and when you pass 40, the seasons move faster than usual, so it’s wise to enjoy every one of them, regardless of rain or shine or agita or Congressional debates.
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