The Salem News
---- — Finally, it feels like New England here in New England.
The real fall has arrived, and we are glad of it. Everything seems to be in the right place — the weather, the kids, the politics, and even our beloved sports teams.
That horribly oppressive, damp and muggy heat is gone, blown far out to sea. The air is crisp and clean and clear, the skies blue and the air is comfortable. The rattle of air conditioners is no longer heard at night. (Though in true New England style, tomorrow offers a one-day temperature rise back into the low 90s.)
On the salt marshes of Ipswich Bay, the grasses are taking on their yellow and reddish hues, a sign that the turn of the tree foliage isn’t far behind. Farther along the coast, on Plum Island, the annual spectacle of the migrating swallows captures the imagination. Thousands of swallows spiral and swirl across the sky in perfect synchronization, sometimes only a few feet above your head. There is nothing quite like it.
All of the local kids have gone back to school, whether it be college, elementary school, or somewhere in between. The fall sports season is in full swing, as evidenced by the storm of activity from the high school gridirons to the youth soccer fields.
After this weekend’s International Festival in Peabody, local downtowns will be relatively quiet, at least for a few weeks. Already, the region has begun planning for the influx of tens of thousands of visitors hoping to experience Salem during Halloween season. And the news that Beverly’s favorite daughter, “American Idol” star Angie Miller, will be performing at this year’s Topsfield Fair, has folks excited about that fall tradition (as if the best event, the giant pumpkin contest, isn’t enough).
Newburyport’s once busy downtown is now fairly quiet, though the pleasant weather brings the annual fall migration of European tourists on their tour buses, as well as handfuls of people lucky enough to have time off to enjoy this weather. Newburyport now feels relaxed and a little bit more homey.
Political signs have cropped up everywhere, as Salem, Beverly and Peabody prepare for very competitive fall elections. Salem and Beverly will have mayoral preliminary elections, and the Salem School Committee and Beverly Ward 1 races are chock full of candidates. The depth of the contested races is such that there will even be a lively contest for library trustee in Peabody. Expect an onslaught of politics through Nov. 5, when races for mayor, city council and school committee are settled. This is the largest slate of candidates that the three cities have fielded in years, and we expect that it will build tremendous excitement and civic interest. All the good and bad that goes with local politics will soon be upon us.
On the sports scene, one can’t help but feel some pennant hope for the Red Sox, particularly after a 20-4 smashing of the Detroit Tigers last week, followed by taking three out of four games from the New York Yankees over the weekend. With the long-awaited return of Clay Buchholz tonight, we can feel some confidence that their successful season thus far will only get better. After Sunday’s sloppy squeaker, we wait to see whether the New England Patriots have the right stuff to stay competitive in the race for the Super Bowl. Whatever happens, it’s clear that people are already excited about the season.
Summer has left us, but fall is looking pretty good.