Goodbye Summer

Somehow, it’s September. I’m torn between being surprised by this — honestly, didn’t we just start August? What happened to that month? — and being oddly grateful about it, because September means the end of summer, and that really couldn’t arrive fast enough for me.

My relationship to summer has been an ever-evolving one, I admit. It was only a couple of years ago that I was convinced that I’d finally gotten over a years-long aversion to the season, born of my dislike of the heat and being sunburned, as well as the events that the season traditionally brought out thanks to my previous relationship (too many garden visits, too much being outside in conditions that I didn’t enjoy). I had, I believed,  come to find, a way to enjoy summer on my own terms, from the long days to the cool glasses of lemonade it afforded me permission to drink. Finally, I could join that vast majority of sun-loving humanity!

And then the last couple of years happened. It’s not a COVID or lockdown thing, for once; it’s that there has been record heat in these here parts — 110 or thereabouts for an extended period of time, twice this year alone — as well as a significant drop in air quality due to wildfires just outside of the city. The combined effect of these two things have made for especially uncomfortable, difficult summers for the last couple of years, especially this year, and reminded me that, oh, that’s right: I hate summer. And I was always right to hate summer, even if I didn’t realize it at the time.

It’s been oddly freeing to come to this realization, and not just because it makes me feel as if I had the early pass on having the right opinion all along. I’ve always been a fan of the fall, and suffering through such genuinely difficult summers feels as if it’s confirmation that it’s really not the sunny months that bring the most joy to people. Give me overcast days and chilly nights. Give me the sun setting when you’re eating dinner, and leaves crunching underfoot. Let’s say goodbye to that Beach Boys time of year and find something better to smile about.

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