September has always felt like the Florida year’s longest month to me. For the love of God, haven’t we suffered enough? I mean, the heat wave started in April. And now it’s the ninth month and in our hearts we know we might not experience a cool breeze until November, and we’re crazed, as crazed as can be. Where I live in West Florida we were gulping Gatorade until December last year. Don’t worry. I didn’t hurt anyone.
Still, the signs of the coming fall, even in humid September, are unmistakable. During my bike rides in St. Petersburg I start to see migrating bald eagles and other birds of prey soaring above my city or perched on the tops of pines. I see thrushes chowing down on the fruits of Beautyberry shrubs on street corners. Songbirds on the way south, including warblers and even the occasional rose-breasted grosbeak, sometimes stop at a favorite place of mine, Fort DeSoto Park, for chow and rest. Watch for folks toting binoculars. On the beach, you might see sanderlings, black-bellied plovers and least sandpipers, just back from raising families in the frozen north. But prepare to sweat off the mosquito repellent you applied only an hour ago. A Florida September is not a Gershwin tune. It’s the blues.
One more thing makes the month drag on for men (groused the cantankerous old bastard!). It’s the tropics, which also stay hot in September. Northern friends and relatives are wearing flannel shirts, drinking apple cider and watching their pumpkins get bigger. Me, I’m wondering if I might have to put up shutters one more time.