Autumn is here, finally

After a high today in the 80s — is it really October 21? Does Alabama just not get the climate memos? — it appears that summer is finally over. The weather forecasts all point to a high in the 60s for the next week or so, lows in the 40s and below, and no return to dog days for a while. Once again, we skip over a full decade of degrees.

Driving home for lunch today, it felt like fall, too. Not in the temperature, not yet — but in the air, that gentle push that comes with cold fronts rolling through. That grayish tint that the world takes on throughout November. Leaves finally changing colors (bypassing the pretty colors that people travel through New England to see and heading straight for a lifeless brown) and starting to cover the streets and yards. That smell in the air that comes with fall…

The Farmer’s Alamanac (as inexplicably accurate as the Mayan calendar) predicts a cold winter this year, and we’re certainly due. I remember ice storms two or three years in a row when I first moved to Birmingham in 1980; then there were the blizzards (relative to Birmingham norms, of course) of ’93 and ’95. I vaguely recall some minor dusting a few times over the past few years, but no real significant snow. Not even any really significant cold temperatures, for that matter.

Hopefully this year will bring some change. But who knows?

The future is uncertain. Who would have predicted the worst hurricane season on record this year? Or even a summer that extended a full month into fall? Tsunamis and earthquakes and presidential scandals, oh my…

Somehow (somewhy), I found myself reading over apocalypse sites today. All sorts of predictions and signals that the world is ending. Everything from the Biblical Revelations to the Mayan calendar ending to Katrina hitting New Orleans to Nostradamus and Cayce and every nutcase that follows suit. Somehow it’s fascinating to me; behind all the insanity and miscommunicated ideas and flawed connections, I almost think there might be a glimmer of truth.

Not that I think we’re seeing the end of times. I think a lot of the evidence is valid, though. I think there are connections there that either aren’t being seen or are beyond our ability to comprehend.

InconTHEEVable.

No, not the end of times. A major change, though. And not brought on by gods or universal cycles or even major cosmic oopsies like a gigantic asteroid turing us into the next dinosaurs (though when you see the evidence and similarities of profoundly separated and different cultures, you should probably stop and ponder).

I think the major change coming is a day of reckoning for us humans, for our reckless and selfish living. We’ve been draining the world of natural and necessary resources for too long now, never giving thought to the consequences or alternatives until it was well past time to do so. We’ve poisoned our seas, introduced species into foreign ecosystems way too suddenly, clouded our air, blown holes in our atmosphere.

I don’t want to come off as an environmentalist, because I’m not. I smoke, I use plastic, I peed in the swimming pool when I was a kid. And if we’re heading for a major shift in the way we live, then that’s fine by me. I’ll adapt, as I’m sure the human race as a whole will, just as we’ve done before. But I swear I’m going to be punching people in the throat left and right when the whining starts.

We did this to ourselves, folks, and now we have to take responsibility for it. And on the off chance that it’s not our fault — that it’s some greater universal path that we have no choice but to follow — do you really think your complaining is accomplishing anything?

Other than giving me one more reason to punch you in the thoat, that is.

I’m going to go prepare to wallow in the cold air. Who knows how many more cool seasons we have coming to us?

I see us in you Nauticus
Came so late but I pray
At the last light of day
There might still be a chance
To save this beast of clay

I see us in you Nauticus
As you’re drifting along
Built to last
Young and strong
Will you find us the answers
Before we are gone?

It’s getting late in the day…

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