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Fall is close if ...

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Your marigolds are going to seed. You have to squeegee the dew from your car windows before you drive to work. The spiders that hung out on your deck all summer are trying to get into your house. Your mailbox is full of catalogs urging you to buy warm clothes that you won't need until at least next January, and maybe not even then. You're hoping that the lawnmower will hold together until the grass stops growing. You've stopped worrying about tornadoes and started worrying about hurricanes.

All those day-trips that you didn't take last spring are starting to sound like fun again, even though you didn't take them this summer and probably won't take them this fall. Your new white running shoes are grubby and grass-stained--and you never got around to using them for running.

The substantive books you were going to read this summer have disappeared under piles of junk mail, and you feel as if your brain is starting to atrophy. And you don't even care, much. You stare at all those leafy trees in your yard and wonder how much longer before you'll have to start raking. You run across your favorite old worn-out flannel shirt and greet it like a long-lost friend.

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