One of the benefits of parents who live in Florida is the weather report. My dad, the amateur meteorologist, will go like this:
"It's hot today. Not a cloud in the sky. Really beautiful."
"What do you expect," I mutter. "It's Florida." Just because it's pleasant doesn't mean it's not hell.
I mention these always-sunny-in-Florida reports to my sister, who lives in New Hampshire's Mt. Washington Valley, where she's learned to live with demanding bears and snow in June. She gets it.
Today, I was able to return the favor to my parents.
I was walking the dog about 8 a.m. when I realized that a giant maple tree on the corner was shedding its leaves so hard and fast you could hear it -- like summer rain on a tin roof. Giant pinwheeling leaves the color of corn were carpeting the tops of cars underneath. It looked like time-lapse photography.
So I called Florida to report on the weather.
"Dad, you don't get to see this anymore," I began, and went on how the yellow maples were shedding their cover so fast they'd be bare by the time I came back from the walk with the dog.
As I was giving the sort of eye-witness report cell phones allow, I saw a person down the street taking pictures in front of her house. That maple, too, was in fast-forward.
"Have you ever heard fall before?" I shouted, and like a schoolgirl she replied, "I know! I know!"
Farther down the street yet another yellow maple was in free fall. I know so little about biology, and what makes them going into action all at once. The cold? The calendar? They must have all gotten the memo.