For everything there is a season

The calendar says August, but the sky hints of something else.

The nights grow longer, the mornings arrive later.

The sun’s position in the sky seems different – the sky’s blue a richer and deeper color.

The air seems less hazy. On certain days when the the wind blows in just the right way, in just the right direction, it almost seems “autumn-like.”

As I sit here this morning reading this I’m reminded that the start of Alpena Public Schools will occur in 16 days – Monday Aug. 28th.

And as I lament about that fact, I’m sure what I am feeling pales in comparison to the feelings of a host of students who still are eager to spend their days outdoors fishing, playing sports or building back yard forts.

The wheels of school are churning again. High school fall sports begins next week – the 18th – with Alpena boys’ tennis, while the first weekend of football, marching band and cheerleaders will follow Aug. 25th.

Where did summer go? For that matter, when did it really arrive?

Yes, we had brief glimpses of warm weather that required air conditioners running, a pitcher of lemonaide and even a mid-day visit to the beach. In past summers all that usually would have occurred at some point in June but certainly, oh certainly, by the 4th of July. Not so this summer.

In fact I looked up weather information through a service known as Weather Underground, which uses temperatures from the Alpena County Regional Airport. Between Memorial Day and today we have not yet hit the 90 degree mark in Alpena. We have come close three times, at 89 degrees, in that period. But that’s it!

The other day I drove through Squaw Bay and observed the 45th parallel sign and as I did I wondered well, which is it – were we closer to the equator this summer, or closer to the North Pole? As I looked out over the water that has returned again along both sides of the highway I was in awe of the beauty of that stretch. Mind you, it always has been beautiful, even at the height of its low-water days. But now, with the bay full again it is like a jewel that sparkles in the sun.

In the end, the answer to my question matters not. We live Up North and as such, are used to any kind of weather anyway, so why question summer temperatures. In fact, it really wasn’t the summer temperatures that had me reflective but rather how fleeting, how quickly the summer seems to have passed me by. I wish it was just beginning but instead, I see the tell-tale signs that it is beginning to fade.

And as I reflected on the summer and all that I have done, or more appropriately not done, I heard in the back of my head “grandpa, grandpa.”

Truth be told, it is those words that best summarize my summer – being “grandpa” to my three wonderful and precious granddaughters. That is what occupied the bulk of my time this summer, and ultimately I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.

Life is good. I have no reason to be remorseful.

Yes, the summer seems like it has flown right by but that only means a new season will soon be upon us.

And building sandcastles at the beach with my grandchildren will be replaced by jumping in newly raked piles of leaves.

What’s that I hear in the distance?

“Grandpa, grandpa.”

Bill Speer can be reached via email at or by phone at 354-3111 ext. 331. Follow Bill on Twitter @billspeer13.