The wind is blowing hard. The sky is dark and it gives way to hail and rain, and then even more hail. This is a gesture to the storms which will come in November, the kind of storms Gordon Lightfoot sings about in Edmund Fitzgerald. The kind that snap freighters in half. Soon the weather will be fierce. But, for now, the winds have not yet taken away the foliage and the air is just beginning to smell like cedar and pine.
We think about the war. We think about money. We think about the election.
We think about football. We have Brett Favre’s career-high six touchdown passes and 289 yards in the Jets’ 56-35 win over the Cardinals. We wait patiently for the start of the regular NBA season. We wait for Quantum of Solaceto be released. We watch Law and Order marathons on TNT.
We miss summer. We miss Tigers’ baseball. And we miss soft-serve from the local Dairy-O, which stayed open as long as it could, but finally closed down for the season when the weather turned.
It is fall.
There are rows of blaze-orange sugar maples. Wild geese are flying late at night. Squirrels are going berserk. People have put up horrifying, giant, inflatable Halloween decorations: Shrek, Scooby-Doo, Frankenstein.
At a crosswalk, a small boy creeps through the intersection. Four cars wait. His green plastic webbed feet come down hard on the hail, breaking it into the concrete. He is wearing a green, amphibious-looking rubber mask, complete with terrible, large gills. His green shirt billows out behind him. He holds a crumpled paper bag in one clawed, webbed hand. The other rests on his mother’s arm. It is hard to walk with those feet. Each step must be measured carefully. At any moment he could trip. We wait for him to pass, gas idling out of our cars. He is very slow. His mother is patient next to him. We continue to wait. Now, seven cars. We are not thinking about McCain or Obama, about layoffs and foreclosures, or gas prices, stocks, and bonds. Instead we just watch as, slowly, very slowly, the Creature from the Black Lagoon makes his way across Main Street and heads towards downtown.