Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Days Grow Short

Labor Day has long been my least favorite holiday, signaling, as it does, the end of warm sunny days and the advent, as the days dwindle down, of long, cold nights. On the first Monday in September, I invariably hear Walter Huston singing the Kurt Weill-Maxwell Anderson classic, "September Song. And then I think of Satchel Paige, who said, "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."

This year, Labor Day promised to be the most depressing in history. Spring and summer were the coldest and cloudiest in Seattle history, and that's saying something. Even on days when we saw the sun, it didn't break through the cloud cover till mid- or late afternoon. As Labor Day loomed larger and larger on the horizon, my spirits sank lower and lower.

But the holiday weekend saw an amazing turnaround. First thing in the morning on Saturday, there was the sun, and there it stayed till sunset. Sunday, more of the same. Then, my wife and I had the nicest Labor Day in memory, sitting with a friend on the back porch, drinking lemonade, basking in 80 degrees of sunshine. And according to the weatherpersons, this pattern will continue till next week, what a gift.

Something is gaining on us, Satch, but it probably doesn't make a lot of sense to look back to see how fast it's gaining. Nor does it do much good to look too far ahead: one never knows, do one? I'd be smart, as the days dwindle, to spend a little energy to keep my place well-lighted as I focus on both my promotional work for A Perilous Conception, my December baby, and getting my next mystery novel and my nonfiction publication on Brun Campbell, The Ragtime Kid, off to good starts.

But right now, it's 82 degrees - imagine that - and my grandson has never been to the beach. He doesn't know what warm sand feels like between his toes, nor how to build a castle in sand. He doesn't know what a sand castle is. He's about to find out.

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