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A great time to be an Autumn Guy

Autumn is coming in the door like a slow dance, gliding softly and smoothly, welcome after summer stormed around heavy-footed and sweaty until the calendar finally ordered it and its angry sun down the road.

Summertime overstayed its welcome this year with its 90-degree days marching uninterrupted for weeks at a time. A normal summer is a fine season, but this one had a bad attitude.

For a long time, I was a summer guy, going all the way back to childhood when I played barefoot and shirtless on a dusty ball field, but in the autumn of my years, I became an autumn guy.

The mornings have a chill to them and the days have a freshness about them like laundry on a clothes line. There’s color in the leaves. Shadows are longer, lying like graceful strokes from an artist’s brush.

For those afflicted with golf, weather is measured by how it accommodates the game. Autumn wins that competition, with spring second, summer third and winter an also-ran.

Autumn is the choice because the temperature is close to ideal, the courses are usually at their peak, the scenery is beautiful and, for the blessed, a spring and summer of dogged pursuit has smoothed some of the wrinkles out of the swing and taught the putter to be civil if not contrite.

There’s something spiritual to be felt out there on an autumn day, maybe going 18 holes in the morning with a cup of coffee and three pals or maybe hiking nine holes alone late in the day with your clubs slung over your shoulder and nobody's keeping score.

Autumn does come with an expiration date stamped on its gaudy sugar maple wrapping. If you have things left undone – maybe you’ve birdied each of the holes but three this year or maybe you haven’t broken 90 or 80 the way you promised yourself you would – you might want to get on it. Winter is packing its snow clouds and icy rain and biting wind for the trip south.

Winter’s a grim prospect for the golfer but we’ll deal with that when it happens.

Thankfully, there’s still plenty of autumn left, still weeks of golden days before the year sings its lullaby and shuts the door against the cold wind.

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