Early one morning last week, I felt the slightest nip in the air.
I stated this publicly, to my wife and to my editor. That was dumb. They each looked at me with pity, and reached for the phone to call 911.
Those of you who survived it may recall that last week was full of heat advisories in the Lowcountry, with afternoon heat indexes soaring to 110 degrees.
But I was not crazy. Years of living in the subtropics trains one to recognize the first, tiny blush of change. It feels huge because it is so welcome. And you know that soon it will blossom into our heaven-on-earth that others know simply as October.
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I felt vindicated when Diann Wilkinson of Hilton Head Island shared with me some of her emails with family members in which she noted numerous signs of autumn.
"All sorts of harbingers of fall are around the island, such as the yellow butterflies beginning to flow in," Diann wrote.
"There is a beautiful, full, medium-pink 'bouquet' on an oleander plant near the utility courtyard gate and a second growth of big, fluffy white flowers on the crepe myrtle trees. Plus those tiny purple berries on stems of the grass that edges the courtyard beds.
"A nice breeze has come up now. Everything is green and pretty. Soon we will see the yellow light that always intrigues me this time of year.
"However, as I've mentioned before, it is just a false fall because we will have a lot more severe hot weather, all through September for sure."
We know all about false falls, false springs and false winters. The only thing that is never false around here is the long, hot hammer of summer.
One of our false signs of fall is football season.
Lowcountry high school teams will go at it tonight, but it will be a long time before the concession stand volunteers get swamped with requests for hot chocolate.
Football is a sign of the season, but a snapshot for the ages. One generation hands it off to the next.
Each new season marches in with a sense of hope. It brings old men leaning against a fence, dubious hot dogs, snappy drum lines and billions of bugs swarming around stadium lights.
We will perch on aluminum benches and watch in amazement the feats of Bluffton's Shameik Blackshear, just as we used to watch Poona Ford from Hilton Head and Devin Taylor from Beaufort.
We will wish for Jumbotrons and instant replays, but settle on word-of-mouth descriptions that make everything bigger with the passing of time.
We will volunteer to spruce up the football stadium at Beaufort High School this Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.
Mike Ingram, back to lead the fourth edition of this community event, said a few years ago: "Our goal is a simple one, but one that's forgotten so many times. These are our kids. This is our school. This is our community. If not us, then who?"
Yes, there's a hint of fall in the Lowcountry air.
Follow columnist David Lauderdale at twitter.com/ThatsLauderdale