Reading Tree Leaves

Until our air conditioner recently sighed its last frosty breath, I was able to mark the passage of summer simply by looking out the window, noting the condition of leaves on our oak tree out back. Full green leaves, for example, are a sure sign that summer is in full swing. When they begin to change hue, I know that school is back in session. When they start to dry up, I start planning Thanksgiving and when they fall off altogether, it’s time to start Christmas shopping.

However, it doesn’t take a glance out the window to tip this plate spinner to the fact that summer has not only arrived, but is fully intending to wear out its welcome. Case in point:

* Airplane pilots flying over my house mistake the patches of dead grass in my yard for mysterious alien-induced crop circles.

* My office inbox is bursting with emails from people who got my name from vacationing co-workers’ “out-of-office” messages.

* I consider installing a portcullis in front of my home office door to keep bored and restless children from accosting me with requests to go to the pool or settle debates over who’s turn it is to mow the dead grass.

* Aforementioned air conditioning unit picks the hottest day of summer to cease and desist emitting cool air into my house.

I marvel at the fact that the human race ever survived without air conditioning and can’t help picturing pioneer women with those long heavy dresses toiling in fields, churning butter and milking cows.

Has the wide spread use of air-conditioning caused the human race to lose its ability to acclimate to temperature changes?


Somthing to ponder while I sit in my car, parked in the driveway, with the A/C cranked, waiting for the repairman to arrive.

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