Once the paper and my first cup of coffee were consumed, I retreated to my den for the purpose of checking emails and their various attachments and sending replies to those deemed worthy. As this process ended, my wife asked that I come to the front patio for the purpose of moving a few pots so that the plants in them could enjoy the rain. “Rain,” I said, “it’s raining?”
Not exactly, but the wet bricks were evidence that between the time I’d retrieved the paper and been assigned to relocate plants our home had been enveloped by some moisture, a revelation that sent my head spinning with recognition that this was that annual event I recognize as “the day.”
Even in San Diego where seasons are indiscernible for most folks, I sensed a feeling of “acorn fever” and the transition from summer to fall. It is a feeling that triggers in me a myriad of feelings and even actions. I’d first seen the term “acorn fever” in a San Diego Union column by Michael Grant, a much better writer than the Union was a newspaper at that time maybe 25 years ago – and there was no question I contract the mysterious malady at some point every year between late September and the arrival of the Trick or Treaters.
In addition to the feeling of a change, I invariably begin thinking and acting differently. How else to explain the fact that for the first time in months and instead of shorts I put on a pair of jeans, added a flannel shirt and told Andrea of my urge to crock pot a big roast along with some potatoes, carrots, onions and parsnips?
She gave me an “are you crazy” kind of look and I quickly went to the family room weather station to confirm my feelings and the evidence I needed to stave off a 72 hour mental health hold in a county facility was right there! Yes indeed, the outside temperature had plunged to 64 and the barometric pressure display showed clouds, all proof enough to me that today, Monday, October 3, is “the day.”
I am not alone in my reaction to the arrival of “the day.” My dear old and sadly departed friend Bart lived in locales where winter would be just around the corner and although he regularly cut and gathered firewood throughout the summer, he turned into a monster in the world of firewood collection with the arrival of “the day,” and it lasted until the arrival of the first snows of winter.
Not seeing much snow on the beaches of San Diego in the winter, my symptoms of acorn fever manifest themselves in different ways. In addition to the aforementioned wearing of long pants, flannel shirts and the preparation of comfort foods I begin to yearn for opportunities to hunt during the day and read books by a fire in the evenings. As the days shorten, I begin collecting books with the fervor of a squirrel gathering nuts before winter. Some days I even yield to the temptation to write.
Such moments are typically accompanied by an appropriate adult beverage such as the glass of Port that beckons and now sits before me, not quite half empty and certainly more than half full.