The great E.B. White, who explained so many things simply and well, knew a bit about the passing of summer.
At a turning point in “Charlotte’s Web,” he writes:
“Avery and Fern Arable heard it (the song of the crickets) as they walked the dusty road. They knew that school would soon begin again. The young geese heard it and knew that they would never be little goslings again. Charlotte heard it and knew that she hadn't much time left. Mrs. Zuckerman, at work in the kitchen, heard the crickets, and a sadness came over her, too. ... ‘Summer is over and gone,’ repeated the crickets.”
I’ve heard any number of people in the last couple weeks declare they are done with summer – and, apparently, that summer therefore should be done with us. I’m ready for cold weather, these people claim.
A prediction: All of you brave souls will find yourselves, before Thanksgiving, shivering through a day without a hint of sun or mercy, saying, what happened to blue skies and 80? Where did the cicadas go? I miss green trees.
Don’t get me wrong. June in Minnesota is about as good as it gets, but October in Missouri is a close second. It is to be relished – in due time.
People who can’t bring themselves to move to Sedona or San Diego for the weather bravely say things like, I need four seasons. OK, I get that. I am one of you. But don’t rush things. The seasons and years fly by, and we too realize we will never be little goslings again.
E.B. White wrote fables, and so does “The Old Farmer’s Almanac,” the 2019 version of which is already out. Those folks know what sells – our fascination with weather and with finding our fate through astrology. It can tell you, based on the alignment of the stars above, the best days to try to quit smoking or go to the dentist. (Here’s a thought: The best day to quit smoking is whenever you possibly can, however you can.)
The weather remains out of our control, so we turn to almanacs and the fuzziness of caterpillars for signs. The Old Farmer’s Almanac says our part of the country can expect a mild but snowy winter, then a warm, rainy April and May, and then a cool, wet summer. These things are fun to read, but I wouldn’t plant the crops by them.
The almanac also claims to offer advice on when to fish – a risky move. Anglers are as superstitious as baseball players, but my observation is that each individual tends to adopt and develop his own notions about good and bad luck in fishing. Entering the phase of the moon into the equation just muddles things.
The almanac does state plainly that its advice is “according to fishing lore,” leaving you to draw your own conclusions. At least they got that part right.
– Jeff Fox is The Examiner’s editor. He’s on Twitter at @FoxEJC.