Nope, that is not the pace that I am moving at these days in this extreme heat. It is the phrase that describes the speed that the leaves are falling from the trees. My favorite meteorologist, Paul Gross, says that our drought-like conditions this Summer, and now throughout the month of September, have caused the leaves to fall prematurely, up to a month ahead of time. Gone are those brilliant shades of yellow, crimson and burnt orange that we associate with Autumn trees. Instead the leaves are just turning a paler shade, then dropping right from the trees. I believe him because now crumpled-up leaves are scattered all over the neighborhood sidewalks, the perimeter path, plus they’re dotting the surface of the Ecorse Creek, and strewn throughout the Park.
Supposedly our sweltering heat is on the wane and just one more very hot day and we’ll return to more seasonal temps. I amazed a friend of mine who was born in the deep South by telling her the Detroit public schools have closed down early two days in a row because of the heat wave. Evelyn is the same age as me, and she recalled, as did I, that we never had A/C in our classrooms the entire time we were in school. She even went to a private school growing up. Likewise, we never got any time off from school due to the heat, but, if we students were really lucky, since we were seated alphabetically, the configuration of our last name might have garnered us a seat by the window and a little fresh air. Otherwise, we just melted away in our rigid and rickety old wooden desks. It was especially bad at Huff Junior High, our ancient middle school. I won’t go on about it, as I don’t want to preach, as did our parents, when they told tales of sitting in a windowless classroom with not so much as a fan, or, walking extraordinarily long round trips to school in snow that reached their knees. I won’t rehash those stories, so enough said.
It’s been no fun walking in this heat but I’m getting it done, as are the other walkers, and even a few runners, along the perimeter path. We are a persistent bunch, even if we have lost the spring in our step, and the morning regimen is more like a trudge in this heat and humidity.
I like to think I look like this chalk artist’s rendering of a girl with a flower. After a four or even five-mile walk on a hot day, I feel a bit like that flower this girl is carrying … not as fresh as a daisy, but feeling like a very wilted bloom instead.