, Newburyport, MA

September 6, 2013

Our view: A fitting fall comes to Newburyport

Newburyport Daily 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.

On the saltmarshes, the grasses are taking on their yellow and reddish hues, a sign that the turn of the tree foliage isn’t far behind. 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 glitches that marked the start of the year, such as busing problems that sent kids hither and yon in Newburyport, have been fixed.

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 both Newburyport and Amesbury prepare for very competitive fall elections. Both cities will have mayoral preliminary elections on Sept. 17, and Newburyport will also have preliminary races in City Council wards 2 and 4. After that, there will be 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 two 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 Detroit Tigers this week. The ascending Red Sox face the sliding Yankees seven times over the next week and a half, and we can feel some confidence that their successful season thus far will only get better. On the gridiron, 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 -- excited enough to make sure that the only scheduled forum between the Newburyport candidates for mayor ends well before next Thursday night’s kickoff.

Summer has left us, but fall is looking pretty good.