Writer’s Block: Whoops! Spoke Too Soon

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

Okay, maybe I spoke too soon. Or maybe I jinxed it. In either case, perhaps I should apologize.

You may be wondering what I’m talking about. Well, it’s none other than that perennial favorite of small talk topics, the water cooler go-to, the easy ice-breaker conversation starter: the weather. If you’ll recall, a couple of weeks back I wrote in this very column about how nice the weather had been. Things didn’t seem quite so hot anymore, and even the haze of Saharan dust seemed to have finally blown away.

And then?

And then … well, these last couple of weeks happened. The Saharan dust made an encore appearance (albeit briefly, thankfully), turning the sky into a searing, formless white glare again. And the heat— my word! The heat! It’s been absolutely stifling, again, too.

I even joked about it with my coworker earlier this week. Just going the couple of blocks between Isabel’s Café and our office left me damp with sweat. The short trip meant the poor a/c in my car never stood a chance of putting a dent in the searing temperatures that had been baking the interior cabin all day long.

So, I’m sorry. I definitely spoke too soon about the dog days of summer finally softening into the pleasantly gentle warmth of autumn.

But, we’re almost there! Slowly, the signs of the changing season continue, even in these last throes of summer. I’ve started seeing those giant red-brown dragonflies that like to flit around in the fall. And there’s been a similar uptick in the number of butterflies visiting whatever shrubs have the temerity to flower in this unrelenting heat. My neighbor’s large basil bush has seen its fair share of skippers, a few sulphurs, and a handful of other butterflies whose names I don’t know.

I’m also eagerly awaiting the arrival of the osprey I’ve come to think of as an avian neighbor. He’s returned to my Laguna Madre neighborhood every year since I’ve lived here. I haven’t heard the telltale sound of his crisp whistles yet, but I’m sure it won’t be long now. He was already here this time last year.

I follow a couple of birding and nature pages on Facebook, so I know there are already a few migrants making their way through the Valley. A few of my favorites, too, like the painted bunting. The larger birds, like my raptor friend, are sure to follow.

Aside from the signs from the natural world, there’s also a ton of things in our manmade world signaling the beginning of a new season. School starts up again next week. And though the kids playing volleyball, football, and running cross-country track have already started competing, things will really begin in earnest next week, too. The first official game of the football season is next Friday, for instance.

Then there’s one more sign of fall that we can expect beginning next week. A certain popular coffee chain is set to begin serving a certain pumpkin-flavored coffee beverage next week. You may or may not find me inside said coffee retailer, eagerly standing in line to get a cup of the fall favorite. We journalists survive on things like never-ending cups of coffee and slices of election night pizza, after all.

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