Roundup of August 2023 Posts

Where Did All the People Go?

Schloss Moritzburg, Dresden, Elegant Elbe, Viking River Cruises, hunting lodge

At Schloss Moritzburg Near Dresden

The news has written a lot about all the Americans who returned to traveling this year—especially to Europe. I can tell that many folks went away for the summer because page views on The Next Phase Blog dropped sharply in July and August. I guess people who are sailing the Atlantic, hiking in Scotland, biking in Tuscany, or exploring in Provence have been too busy to keep up with my blog posts.

While I have missed you all this summer, I hope you have been enjoying a wonderful time. We went to Europe (Eastern Germany and the Czech Republic on the Elbe River) in April. The weather was awful—cold and rainy—but, for me, a bad day of travel is better than a good day of sitting around the backyard.

If you have returned, welcome home!

Where Did All the Chipmunks Go?

Chipmunk, perennials, June garden

Chipmunk on the wall

And speaking of my backyard, summer normally includes what appears to be hundreds of chipmunks popping out of holes in the ground and running around at full speed. They rocket through the grass like furry particles in the Large Hadron Collider. Every time I look out, I see more and more of them. Around this time of year, their insistent “chipping” can drive you crazy.

This summer started the same way. Then we had weeks of cool, rainy weather—and the chipmunks disappeared. Even on the occasional dry sunny day, there were no chipmunks to be seen. What happened to them? Where did they go?

I have a theory. The word “rainy” doesn’t do justice to the kind of precipitation that fell on New England in the summer of 2023. We had downpours, torrents of water, and tropical-type storms without benefit of actual tropical weather patterns. Water fell from the skies in sheets and buckets, running off roofs, flowing down the streets, filling bodies of water, and saturating the ground.

I think the chipmunks drowned.

Chipmunk Dens, August 2023, rain

Chipmunk Dens

Their dens can handle normal rainfall, most of which would be absorbed by the ground around them. These storms, however, dropped abnormal amounts of rain—by a lot. Once it had saturated the ground, the water would have flowed down those holes and right into the chipmunk dens, where it would have stayed for hours or even days.

This year’s abnormal weather has had unexpected impacts all over the country. Here in New England, I think it doomed an entire generation of chipmunks.

Roundup of August 2023 Posts

I guess it’s only fair that fewer people stayed home to read my posts because I had less time to write them and only completed six in August vs my goal of eight. The cruise ship tour season began in June this year and, while it really ramps up in September, there was enough to keep me busy through July and August.

Liberty of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, cruise ship, Flynn Cruiseport

Liberty of the Seas in Boston

Plus, we had enough nice days to want to get out and do things. Like visiting the Cape Ann Museum, going for drives, finding places to eat with a water view, and trying the hot dogs at Sullivan’s on Castle Island.

Now we have the last holiday weekend of the summer. Take a few minutes to sit in the shade and catch up on the roundup of August 2023 posts.

Boston and History

Business and Technology

Health and Safety

Movies and Television

Where Did the Summer Go?

We know what comes after August 2023: cool weather, colorful foliage, pumpkin spice everything, Halloween decorations everywhere you look, and the raucous shrieks of visiting Blue Jays. Except that next week will be summer hot where I live and, I suspect, in a lot of other places as well.

Climate change will, I think, bring an extended Indian Summer that rolls right on into October. That’s bad news for the cruise ship passengers who come on East Coast voyages to peep the leaves because they will still be green. It works for me, though, as Boston’s Flynn Cruiseport is unheated and can get downright drafty in cold weather.

Onward into Autumn!