It has started. It started last night, the night of September 12, 2011. The bedroom windows were open. A full moon, or one that was so nearly full as to make no difference, shone through the windows at the head of the bed.
Returning from the library, I enjoyed a Scotch-on-the-rocks, read a chapter of Georgette Heyer, and was about to drift off when I heard it. The cry announcing death, in this case, the death of summer.
The temperature had risen into the eighties during the afternoon. I’d worn white linen pants and a linen shirt to the library. White linen pants mean summer.
But there it was, the cry. High in a moon-bleached night, a squadron of Canada geese were gathering into their arrow formation and discharging themselves southward into the night. “Good-bye,” they cried again and again. “Good-bye.”
Every year, at the sound, a chill gathers around my soul. I am not a winter person. I once thought I was. I was mistaken.
When the snow is fresh, winter is beautiful. In movies.
A second home is out of the question, and Dan likes it here. I like it, too, except for winter. But as days grow short, I begin to gloom. One of my excellent daughters gave me a full-spectrum lamp, and that’s fine. God knows I wouldn’t send it back. But the lack of warm is as insidious as the lack of light. I want to walk in warm, swim in it, eat it and drink it.
And so, the cry in the night follows me into sleep, where I clutch the covers, wrapping them tight around me under a hot September moon.