Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The end of summer

I think it was Monday. My car had been sitting in the sun all day before I opened the door to its sweltering heat. "It's finally happened," I thought to myself, "I'm ready for summer to end." Some years it's hot enough for long enough that I reach that point. "Stop it with the hot already! I'm ready for the cold!" Of course, some very disappointing years it doesn't happen, because of too much rain or dreary "summer" days.

It seems like as soon as I said it, fall began. It's not exactly cold (I was still sticky with sweat after walking around New Haven yesterday), but there's that morning chill that makes me remember to bring a sweater wherever I might be headed. Soon the open windows will admit cool breezes instead of stale humidity, and the sweltering beach-napping weather will give way to balmy rollerblade-permitting afternoons. I won't have to worry about mosquito bites in the evenings. Wiffle ball games will be moved earlier in the afternoon to allow for the shortening daylight hours.

Just when the school year begins (not that it matters to me anymore), the weather becomes nice enough that you want to be outside in the middle of the day, instead of stuck inside in the air conditioning or heat. You settle for afternoon walks in a fall coat, kicking through the fallen leaves.

As much as I love the fall, something about this year's change brings me sadness. I've become accustomed to the environmental reminder of time passing, and I truly enjoy being able to mark time with the seasons. Fall itself is perfect, with the freedom of warm days between crisp nights of relief, with no need for CO2-emitting atmospheric alterations. But this year the reminder is bittersweet. Just as I was starting to settle in, to have no outstanding life-consuming decisions, to find a schedule and stick with it, I feel ambushed by this reminder that things will always be changing. Even if I have a steady income, a place to live, and regular activities, it seems that things will still change.

For so long I have been waiting, wishing, hoping, searching for a time without change, when I don't have a big life choice to make. Lately, the biggest decisions I make are about time management: should I go to the gym now or later or not at all today? This is nice. This is where I want to be. I crave the prosaic and routine. When the background is drab, the minute instances of accomplishment and happiness are that much brighter.


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  2. I feel just that way sometimes, but part of me thinks that having won a time without change, I'd simply begin craving change again. Maybe I'd be wiser, though.

    Enjoy the end-summer days, lovely. It was beautiful to see you. Come visit soon. You can even bring Bruce. :-)