Friday, September 01, 2006

Long live summer

Summer is over. Long live summer.

The steady summer warmth fades away by late August in upstate New York. Swimming pools are no longer useful because the evenings reduce the water temperature, and the sun cannot bring it back. Our tans begin to fade by Labor Day. We still wear shorts and shortsleeve shirts, but sweatshirts and fleece get pulled out of the closet after dinner. We will swap wardrobes within a week, and darker heavier clothes will fill our dresser drawers.

There will be brief reprieves in September. The temperature will break 75 for a short stretch of days, and we will stare wistfully at the blue skies and wish the sun would peak longer.

Then the colors will change. The green peels away and is overwhelmed by reds, golds, and brown. The sky takes on a paler blue for a canopy. We use the lawn mower less, until it sits idle in the garage with rakes leaning against it.

This is an annual transition, and we selfishly think it only happens to us. Only we New Englanders get to watch nature explode into colors as the sun wanes and the days grow shorter. Only we get to turn in circles and see the full canvas of fall painted on the hills that surround our lives. Only we can hop in our cars and drive two-lane back roads through the woods, stopping at farm stands that sell squash, gourds and pumpkins. Not true, of course – but all those Norman Rockwell paintings have created a certain level of ownership here in New England.

Count me as one who enjoys nature’s colorful show as it unfolds.

But I resent fall’s incursion into August every year. I will still wish for summer.

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