Sunday, August 8, 2010

August Acorn Showers

(Excerpt from "A Porch Sofa Almanac)

Cool August night. Bedroom window open. Drifting off to sleep. Breeze in the old white oak out front.

All is right with the world – except for the acorns letting go. You can hear them succumbing to gravity a block away, carpet bombing the neighborhood, punctuating these late summer nights.

They clack on the gable, rattle down the shingles and plink off the gutter en route to the driveway below. They fall directly into the hosta bed – or onto the lawn – with a somewhat softer thud. I’ll rake them up later. Either that or the neighborhood squirrels will harvest them and stash them away for winter.

Every so often, one of them ricochets off the neighbor’s Corolla with a distinctive not-quite-clunk, not-quite-plink. Up in the bedroom, on the verge of sleep, I smirk a little.

The neighbor’s Corolla… Heh-heh-heh…

It’s not nearly as amusing when they plunk my car.

So many acorns. One tree produces thousands. Millions are falling all over town, littering sidewalks and bike paths, crunching under car tires.

They say Newton discovered gravity when a falling apple hit him on the head. I don’t buy it. I say he was probably thumped by an acorn. Only last Saturday, a guy I was golfing with got plunked good and hard as he teed up his ball in a shady tee box.

The August acorn shower. Like the annual meteor shower, or the first red sumac leafs, or the State Fair, or crickets in the night, or posters with the home town high school football schedule showing up in store windows along Main Street, or that vague sense that even now, mired in adulthood, you ought to be getting your things together to go back to school, the acorn shower is another little sign the season is changing.

Summer isn’t over. Not quite yet. But the end is at hand. The bell is tolling loud and clear – loud and clear as an acorn clanking off the neighbor’s Corolla.

The neighbor’s Corolla –