Here in Belize, the year is not structured exactly the same. Instead of the four seasons I'm used to, there are only two: dry season and rainy season. The latter is the longest, stretching from June through December in most cases, though this year it seemed to last through January and start up again in May, leaving but a short three-month dry season. Even during rainy season, it certainly doesn't rain all the time. It rains more at night than during the day, but storms are more frequent and can be heavy, even if short-lived. Occasionally it stays gray and rains off and on all day long, but that is rare. And it rains on occasion even during dry season, but much less frequently.
This year -- this "summer" -- just when we thought rainy season was here to stay, Mother Nature's waterworks turned off. Although I don't have official rainfall statistics to quote, on Ambergris Caye July was dryer than June, August seemed dryer still (with the exception of our brief brush with Hurricane Ernesto in the early part of the month), and September was downright desert-like. Even the locals were complaining about the heat and dry weather, and passing motor vehicles kicked dusty dirt in our eyes when they passed us on the unpaved roads. It was 83 or 84F every morning by the time I got up (6:30 to 7 am). Almost every day without fail, the skies were brilliant blue, the sun was shining brightly, and it was a perfect time for visitors to enjoy a tropical island vacation. But for residents, the lack of clouds and cooling rain can get a bit stifling over time.
And then it changed.
The birds are in high gear as fall migration time has arrived as well. Almost overnight we started noticing wood warblers in the heavy tropical foliage out our windows, along with the plaintive call of the Great Kiskadee that had been silent all summer long. Even year-round residents like orioles seem more active and plentiful. The Roseate Spoonbills are back at Grand Belizean Estates, along with the flock of Blacked-Necked Stilts wading in the mangrove pools, and many more birds flying overhead. But again, I used the the US seasons "fall" and "summer" to describe these differences -- because they are important and distinct times for birders -- even though both are part of the rainy season in Belize.
I suppose no matter where one lives, there are certain constructs that will never die, and for me, one of those is the concept of the four seasons. It's different here in Belize in spring, summer, fall, and winter, no matter how those "seasons" are described. So now, I'm going to say it, even though the leaves won't be changing: Fall is here!