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The Spectator
founded 2004 by ron cruger
A place for intelligent writers
A place for intelligent readers
 by Laramie Boyd
2013 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved
         Well, summer is over here in the desert. That's Palm Desert, California. And how do I know it's over? There are several signs that are unmistakable, besides the obvious one that the temperature has moved from the three digit figures that prevailed only a short time ago to the more comfortable two-figure numbers now. One other sure sign of this passage of summer is that most of the golf courses are brown instead of green. The desert heat has a way of turning the once lush green grass into a faded hay-like surface, especially when they stop saturating the courses with the precious water supply. Then come October each year, many of these courses close down while they scalp any remaining green grass almost down to the ground. This is in preparation for the annual re-seeding of Oregon rye grass that, in three or four weeks, will again turn the course into lush fairways and greens that will last until next year, when the same routine is repeated. And to the glee of all desert residents, when the grass is back to green again, the weather becomes as nice as it is anywhere on Earth.
         Then there's the sign that Fall is here that always brings out differences of opinion as to whether it's a good or bad idea. And that's when we all turn our clocks back one hour, from daylight savings time to standard time, which means, according to the clock, the Sun will come up later and go down earlier than it did all summer long. The meaning of that switch is different for each of us, depending on our situation.
         But I believe the summer-is-gone sign here in Palm Desert that is the most controversial as to whether we are happy or sad about the hot season being over is the one that affects everybody when they jump in their car to go to work, or run an errand, or take a leisurely drive anywhere. When I moved away from Glendale, California, to settle here in the Coachella Valley, years ago, when you came to this Palm Springs suburb, which is what Palm Desert was then, the streets looked totally different than they do now, and not just during the summer, but year around. There were very few cars. In the summer you had to look hard to find an open restaurant. Some motels, golf courses, stores, and theaters cut their hours or closed down altogether. There just wasn't much traffic to speak of. Driving from point A to point B was almost fun, even though the steering wheel of your car could burn your hands if you didn't cover it up when you left the car and park in a shaded spot. And now, come November, thousands and thousands of retired, or vacationing, second-home condo owners who swarm to the desert, plus visitors who stay in hotels, means there are at least twice as many cars on the roads. It's becoming more and more like the traffic snarls in the big cities when summer is over and the "snow birds" return to the desert.
          So now that summer is over, and life in the desert is getting a little more hectic, because the temperature is down, the grass is turning green, and traffic is a nightmare, I had better keep my eyes on the road just in case some old codger runs a stop light, or changes lanes without first looking, or makes a left or right turn when they shouldn't. But some of these signs are part of the glamour and mystique of the passing of summer in the desert, and are part of the reasons that visitors flock here from Canada, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and other colder climes due north. And every year, without fail, I can't wait for the excitement this change brings. Seeing old golfing partners returning is one of the highlights of the return of the "snowbirds" for me, and besides, when summer is over the golf courses are lush, the World Series is just around the corner, football season is here, basketball is starting up, and so the desert will now become the best of all possible worlds when you consider that the weather is fantastic. And, I also can't wait until next summer, when things slow down again, when driving from point A to point B is almost fun again, and the livin' is easy, in the summertime.