Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fall. That's all.

Today has the distinct possibility of being the 90th day this year of temperatures 100 degrees or higher in Waco. This blows the old record of 63 days out of the water. What's more, those high temps started far sooner than usual, beginning in early June. And 29 of our days this year were temps of 105 or higher.

I've griped about the weather a lot on Facebook. I've humphed and whined and sighed. It's been really, really hot. And to top it off, it's also dry. Really, really dry. We haven't received even half of our normal rainfall levels this year. According to the Lower Colorado River Authority, "The 11 months from October 2010 through August 2011 have been the driest for that 11-month period in Texas since 1895, when the state began keeping rainfall records. This summer in Texas has been the hottest in the country's history, according to the National Weather Service."

"Hot" and "dry" just don't seem strong enough words.

I've often described this summer as oppressive. It's actually wearing me down. The little glimpses of fall we've had in the past weeks almost seem to make it worse. We'll have a glorious day with highs in the mid-80s, but then days like today, where the high is supposed to be 100.

But it's more than just the physical discomfort that I refer to when I say this season has been oppressive. Everywhere I look there's just dry crispiness. And not the good kind of crisp, with a bite of cold and the smell of fires in the chimneys, the blustery wind and the multi-colored leaves. Our crispy leaves and grass are just dry and dead. Brown and blah. It's soul-crushing. Okay, maybe "crushing" is too harsh a word. But it's draining. It's . . . oppressive.

I know people who live (or have lived) up north who deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Typically this disorder is associated with winter, with gray skies, hibernation, and lack of sunlight. But, my goodness, I think I have a bit of SAD.

I really like the outdoors. I'm not a hiker or biker or trail-walker, especially not right now, but I miss savoring the sun and sky, the trees and leaves and green grass. I'm seeing pictures of fall in other places around the country, and I'm jealous. Truly, deeply jealous. I actually have to look away.

My soul longs for coolness, freshness, rain. I need a deep breath of relief from this summer. I don't know if the arrival of fall will actually lift this weight--especially since the drought is predicted to worsen before spring--but I'm willing to bet it will help.

I will get a nice preview this weekend as I fly to Denver for a work conference. Highs are supposed to be in the low 80s (10 degrees higher than what was being forecast this time last week; I'm a little bummed), but with lows in the 50s and those gorgeous Rocky Mountains, I'm really looking forward to it.

The return to Texas will be the kicker, just as it was when we returned from the fabulous Michigan weather this summer.

Oh, fall. Come to me soon.


Brooke said...

My sentiments exactly. We have our own version of SAD. Right there with you.

Angela said...

My dad can't talk to me these days without referring to the weather and the outdoors being "depressive". It's the actual word he uses. He says he doesn't even have fun going on his usual hikes these days, because he can see the desperation of the deer, boars, and other critters looking for food. (You know how my dad is about that kind of thing.)
I think it's entirely possible to be completely depressed by the drought and the heat. The dead or dying plants and trees sure don't help with the atmosphere. Particularly, when the animals are literally dying and this winter will kill off many of the ones who managed to make it through the summer drought.