Commentary by Ward Degler
There’s something to be said for late summer in Indiana. By mid-August the incessant rain that plagued the first three months of the season has ebbed somewhat, and you can actually plan outdoor activities without carting along raincoats, umbrellas and swamp boots.
It’s still hot this time of year, but not so humid you need to change clothes three times a day. Less rain also means the grass grows more slowly, and you can actually turn off your mower between cuttings.
Of course, when the grass slows down the weeds grow faster. The good news is that with autumn on the horizon you no longer care.
It’s also no secret that after three months of rain the outdoor projects have multiplied beyond all human understanding. Maple seeds, for example, tend to sprout in the gutters. Last week some of mine were three-feet high.
Mature trees also drop twigs, branches and sometimes limbs the size of beluga whales. Gathered together in my back yard they filled a 15-yard dumpster. Likewise, there’s unfinished brickwork, driveway patching and unpainted house trim.
Late summer sounds different, too. Drive through the countryside with the windows open and you’d swear the breeze in the corn sounds like the swish of a crinoline skirt at the homecoming dance. At night the tree frogs, crickets and cicadas offer a scratchy serenade that will either lull you to sleep or keep you awake till dawn.
All this is normal, I guess. Except that the kids are already back in school. Sorry, but that is just plain wrong. School can’t start until after Labor Day. How else can anybody get through the required number of swimming parties? And everybody knows August is the best month of the year for those lazy all-day bicycle treks. You know, the kind where you eat lunch at whoever’s house you roll into at noon.
Still, when the sun goes down and that golden glow settles over the back yard, there is no more perfect time to sit outside with a cup of coffee and enjoy the cooling air and the fact that the heat has finally driven the mosquitoes away.
Unless you live in Minnesota, of course. Late August up there is when you mount the snow tires on your car and break out the long johns and the parkas.