Today, just after noon, it was already 104 degrees. September and October in Southern California are often the hottest months, just as the rest of the country is starting to celebrate fall, pulling out sweaters and decorating with pumpkins. Here, the pumpkins might bake in their shells if we left them sitting out in the sun.
I called my daughter, who was preparing to host their Sunday night dinner group, to see if she wanted to have it at our home, about half an hour away. They don't have air conditioning and we do; she had already called last night to ask our son to bake his famous pies here rather than heat up their house even more. She said she would check with her husband, and called back almost right away to say they would be happy to have it here. I have known most of the members of the Sunday dinner group since they were in college and grad school together; it's the group responsible for introducing my daughter to her husband. I've seen many of them married and watched as children began arriving. The last time we hosted, there were twenty-seven children in all!
But even as the heat seems to press the landscape to the ground and the gardens and lawns of the area turn brown with the drought-sponsored watering restrictions, I can see clues that the earth is still turning, and autumn will eventually make its way here. At the very top of the liquidambar trees, ruby and burgundy is scattered among the mostly emerald leaves. Sunset creeps in sooner, and in the morning dawn lingers in bed a bit longer. Children are back shrilling the air at the two schools near us and their big yellow buses boomerang out and back twice a day. I am ready for cooler air and praying, like most Californians, for a very wet winter!