Fall Finally Got Here

Fall was late getting a foothold this year. Most years, on or about September 1, August humidity falls away and driving down Old County Road I spot at least a hint of fall color in the trees. This year September 1 felt like September 1 — but then the tropical air slithered back in and it felt like August again. A thunderstorm would then clear the air, but never once and for all. Over the course of the month we must have gone through the cycle three or four times.

The days were getting shorter as the equinox approached, but it wasn’t always noticeable because of overcast skies.

Also it rained a lot. My favorite stretch of the Dr. Fisher Road is a pretty good indicator of how much rain we’ve had. This is what it looked like at the beginning of September. At the end of October’s first week, the puddles aren’t nearly as impressive but they haven’t disappeared either.

A few days ago I pulled jeans on for the first time in months. That might be the surest sign that fall has arrived — but on the other hand, the next day I was back in shorts.

At the moment I’m typing this in shorts and a long-sleeved T. I haven’t even thought about doing the Great Seasonal Clothing Switch. Well, OK, I did just think about it, but what I thought was that no way is it actually time to do it.

As always, my laundry line is a good clue to the changing of the seasons. As it happens, I have photos from September 7 and October 7: exactly one month apart. The differences between the two are subtle — nothing so obvious as a pair of jeans or a sweater — but they are there.

Late summer laundry line, September 7, 2021

T-shirts. Lots of T-shirts. So many that they almost didn’t fit on the line. Because in August it sometimes takes two T-shirts, or even three, to get through the day. Take one off at the end of a brisk morning walk, shower — and no way are you putting that shirt on again. Also notice the number of sleeveless T’s and tank tops. My sleeveless T’s are all from the 1980s. They were called “muscle shirts” at the time, I guess because they showed off and/or didn’t interfere with your muscles. Why can’t they be found anymore? Unlike the vast majority of my regular T’s, they get worn and washed a lot, so they’re all showing signs of wear.

Early fall laundry line, October 7, 2021

A month later, there’s only one sleeveless T on the line, and one tank top. There’s also one long-sleeved T, and (though it’s nearly impossible to discern from this angle) at the very end of the line is a sweatshirt. Still no jeans or other long pants, but the fact that there’s more space on the line is significant: In September, one T-shirt would get me through the day, and sometimes the same one would get me through two days. (Keep in mind that I work from home, and who the hell knows or cares what you’re wearing to a Zoom meeting?)

Speaking of T-shirts — The T-Shirt Chronicles has been on hiatus for the last two months because I’ve been hellaciously busy workwise, but I’ll be getting back to it shortly.

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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