Autumn truly is what summer pretends to be: the best of all seasons. It is as glorious as summer is tedious; as subtle as summer is obvious; as refreshing as summer is wearying. Autumn seems like paradise.
This is how I know that autumn is coming:
Squirrels. They're going nuts in my backyard, knocking pecans out of the trees and leaving them half-eaten on my freshly-swept deck. They're furiously digging little holes in the lawn and burying the treasure there. They chatter back and forth, saying, "Over here! Over here! I've found the motherlode!", bouncing up and down and raining pecans down on my head like hail. When I look up, I hear them say, "chickachickachicka! chickachickachicka!"...and I know they're laughing. They do high wire acts, spinning one-armed around the cables and swinging from their toes. They scamper and skip from limb to bending limb... their weight arcing the highest branches until I'm sure they'll snap, and then they're gone....a vertical leap to another precarious branch even higher and bendier. "chickachickachicka! chickachickachicka!"
Today is the first official day of autumn. The temperature will soar to 100 degrees; it won't feel like autumn at all. But the squirrels give me hope.