Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The chill of an early fall

Pay attention and you can feel it.

It rears its head in the evenings, when the remains of the day slips slowly away, lurking, ready to replace the sweltering summer in our collective consciousness.

And they're playing football, too, so that must mean the chill of an early fall.

But I'm watching baseball tonight -- Red Sox versus the Rays -- big showdown for top spot in the AL East. Josh Beckett's curve ball looks ever so sharp in the top half of the first. But something tells me these young fellers from Tampa Bay are going to make this one interesting postseason.

Baseball in September has always felt a bit jarring. I guess it's because autumn is for football, Saturday afternoons at Neyland Stadium, orange and white, good ol' Rocky Top, yada yada.

I don't know. Can't get into it this year. Part of me died out in Westwood on Labor Day, I guess.

Oh, I'll be there Saturday. Hell, I've already paid for the tickets. Might as well go.

It's OK. I think I'm ready for fall. I'm looking forward to cool evenings in front of the fire, drifting off to sleep in the easy chair, orange and yellow and red flickering across the otherwise darkened living room, visions of dark-haired women dancing in my head.

I'm looking forward to driving up to Harrogate one Sunday (provided gas ever gets reasonable again), taking in the colors of an East Tennessee autumn, finding that spot near the gazebo on the LMU campus where the poet Carl Sandburg wrote his masterpiece on Lincoln, and whiling away the afternoon.

But tonight I'm enjoying one last gasp of summer, the gentle rhythms of our national game, before putting a first love to bed until the cruelest month returns in the spring.

Funny, but this year, it doesn't seem to hurt all that much.

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