The descent into Fall has been swift, like the leaves when they leave their trees. Some 65 years ago we were so dry and hot half of Maine burned; little local fires which became huge conflagrations that wiped out whole communities. Bar Harbor's seaside mansions owned by industrial and fnancial magnates burned as quickly and efficiently as the little hundred year old farms in the western part of the state. And my families own modest but comfortable and much loved seaside cottage in Goose Rocks Beach. Colorful hardwood foliage, some dry and fallen, some still glorious in gold and orange clinging to their branches, and deep green conifers thirsting for water needed to keep them alive through winter - all burned with ferocious intensity of color and heat. Acrid smoke drifted where the fire did not.
As I looked out my bedroom window from the cottage where we were still enjoying the last of good weather, I saw the balls of fire "topping off" over the tall pines of Crow Hill in Cape Porpoise and heard the screams of the fire engines as they raced here and there trying to find places where they might - just might - be able to stop it. My father said "Go to bed. There's a whole marsh between us that the ocean keeps wet every 12 hours. The fire won't cross that." How wrong he was - not often - but never more so than that night. We left that morning and by afternoon the our cottage and five others on that remote end of the beach on the edge of Batson's river was gone.
Well, we have had rain enough to keep the conifers healthy for winter.
The rocks along the roadside are weeping; the foliage which should be peaking in glorious crisp orange and yellow and rust and pale green is hanging limp and soggy, sad in the air which is also soggy and limp.
Turn on the furnace in early October? Unless you want to mold, you had better. Hunger for hot soup for supper? Absolutely. My grandson made me a large batch of Borscht; I revel in it's satisfying red warmth. Pack up the summer weight pants and shirts; put away the patio furniture; plant a few extra bulbs if you dare work in your soggy yard; hope for at least one really nice dry sunny day before snow-fall so you can clip back the roses and cover them, trim the butterfly bush and do one last round of weed-pulling to discourage them from coming back in April.
Maine is an interesting state which cannot be counted on from one year to the next for consistency. It;'s consistency is inconsistent, at best.