Grab a box of tissues and prepare to become misty-eyed, because the day we have been dreading is finally here.
There's no way to break this gently to you, so I'll just blurt it out -- today is (Aieeeee!) the last official day of summer.
As all you astronomy fans already know, the autumnal equinox -- when the sun shines directly on the equator and day and night are roughly the same length and we trade our Bermuda shorts for woolly sweaters -- arrives in Winnipeg Sunday at 3:44 p.m.
But do not despair, Winnipeg. Yes, the time has come to put away our inflatable backyard swimming pools and dive into piles of crunchy brown leaves, but we must embrace the fall, a time of renewal, a time when we stop listening to the Beach Boys and, instead, listen to the bittersweet stylings of the great Tom Waits, who encapsulates our feelings about this time of renewal when he croaks out the following heart-tugging lyrics:
"I'm the last leaf on the tree/The autumn took the rest/But they won't take me/I'm the last leaf on the tree."
There, doesn't that make you feel better about the arrival of autumn? Good, because, according to Environment Canada, today, the final day of summer is going to be (how can I put this?) just a little chilly.
The weather office says we can expect a mix of sun and clouds today, becoming sunnier in the afternoon with a bracing daytime high of just 15 C, compared to the normal high of 17 C.
In contrast, Sunday, the first day of the autumnal/fall/September equinox, we will bask in nothing but sun and a glorious high of 21 C. The rest of the week should be a bit warmer than normal with a smattering of clouds most days.
Since you are feeling bittersweet already, I urge you to head down to the Winnipeg Free Press News Caf© tonight from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. for an evening of provocative poetry as part of the Thin Air Winnipeg International Writers Festival. Tickets are $5 at the door, but seating is limited and they go fast.
Another swell way to mark the change in seasons is to chug over to tracks 1 &2 of our historic Union Station this weekend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to take in Railway Days 2013, featuring industry, travel, hobby and rail heritage displays. Admission is by donation.
Also today, the St. Amant Foundation is holding its annual Free the Spirit Festival in the John and Bonnie Buhler Reflective Gardens at 440 River Rd. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The festival raises awareness and cash for kids and adults living with developmental disabilities and autism. We're talking family fun, including live music, a petting zoo, pony rides, bouncers, face painting, food and more. Admission is free, but donations are welcomed.