Friday, August 28, 2009

Fall has Fell

Today is Friday, the last Friday in August, the beginning of the last weekend in August. Next week it will be September. Summer is gone and fall has arrived. It is currently 65 degrees under partly cloudy skies in Streeterville.

Although the official beginning of autumn (fall) isn't until the 22nd of September, I have begun hearing a lot of TV meteorologists referring to something they call meteorological fall, meteorological winter, meteorological spring, and meteorological summer. As best as I can tell, what I think they mean is that the first day of the month in which the change of seasons occurs is really the beginning of said season. Next Tuesday is the beginning of meteorological autumn.

Mind you other people use other markers for the change of seasons. Ask any student or teacher when fall begins and they'll tell you that officially it begins around about the 21st or 22nd of September, but fall really begins when school begins again. For those of us in the Chicago Public Schools that means fall begins with Labor Day. For some fall means that both the Cubs and Sox have been eliminated from any possibility of going to the World Series and it's time to focus on the Bears football season.

There are those who actually look at things like autumn weather patterns, and believe me, by that standard fall has already arrived in Chicago. The sun has just emerged for the first time in 3 days. It has rained on and off for these last 3 days, and I don't believe the temperature at the lakefront has gotten out of the 60's for these last 3 days. Looking at the extended weather forecast, we don't expect temperatures out of the 60's for the next 4 days and not above the 70's for the next week. Temperatures are trending downward and fall weather has arrived.

Some people judge summer to fall transition by the activity at the lakefront and on the lake itself. I went for a run today and while the professional beach volleyball tour has arrived at Oak Street Beach, for the most part the beaches are beginning to look deserted. The running and biking path is in use, but the numbers are dwindling. Looking out the window I can see that there are no boats in Streeterville Bay this Friday afternoon. There are a few triathlon trainees swimming their laps next to the shore, but even those numbers are shrinking. (A few days ago there were so many swimmers that they were swimming into each other.)

All of this evidence is pretty serious evidence that summer has indeed passed us by once more, but I have to point to the most serious evidence there is, the meteorological observations of Larry the Doorman. Larry does not lie. Larry is rarely wrong in these matters. He has beaten that other weather forecaster, Phil the Groundhog, 3 years running, in the matter of when spring is coming. Now it appears that Larry also has pronouncements on the arrival of fall.

Larry the Doorman has told me unequivocally that fall begins when the last airplane in the Chicago Air and Water Show flies away. Larry assures me that this has already occurred and I should note that the temperatures have begun to go downwards. There may be one or two odd days in the low 80's yet, but they will be an anomaly as the world drifts through fall and prepares for winter. Put your shorts and t-shirts and flip-flops away ladies and gentlemen. I expect you're getting tired of that summer wardrobe anyway. Get out your long pants. Put on some real shoes. Get the sweatshirts and sweaters ready. It won't be long until you'll need light jackets. Larry the Doorman has proclaimed it to be fall.


  1. I enjoy your blog so much and this post reminds me of the one and only time (and hopefully not the last) I visited your wonderful city - 2 yrs ago this week. My family spent Thursday through Tuesday of Labor Day weekend 2007 in Chicago and had a delightful time. I am a Georgia native and have spent my life in the hot and humid south and I remember so well how wonderful it felt to experience Chicago's late August weather along the lakeshore. Our tour guides told us that that particular summer had been exceptionally hot for Chicago, and it was still quite warm, but it was perfect to me. One can read all about Chicago, but there is nothing like actually being there.
    I envy your 'views from the 14th floor' but I am so glad I found your blog!

  2. It's always exciting to find that someone likes what I do. Glad you enjoy the blog, an thank you. It's also exciting that a Georgian can appreciate what we have here in Chicago. A great many native Southerners cringe at the prospect of coming here. For the record, I grew up in Central Arkansas and I migrated here by choice. This has been home for 25 years now.