This week wasn’t like the other weeks. It wasn’t like the one before it, or the two before that one. It’s been a week unlike any since this week last year. No amount of sun can coax the summertime swimmers back to the shallow beaches. No particular special, even the all-time favorites, can tempt the diners back to those summery patios. There’s nothing that can be done now to slow this week down. The next week will come, soon enough. Summer is still here, but it’s mostly just a memory.
And we’re fine with that. Sure, some aren’t. Some are making their travel plans even this morning, as they sense the morning chill of September and wish it weren’t so. It’s too cold to golf today, someone will say. The club in Naples has their annual Welcome Back outing October 21st, and what an event that will be. It’ll be warm and sunny, so long as no hurricanes see fit to disrupt that ideal. What a life it would be, to leave summer and find your way to another summer. So much summer, all summer. All the time, summer.
With age, this is supposed to be what we crave. Summer, only. I had a good friend once tell me that it’s not good for kids to be raised in a climate where half of the year they have to stay inside. I agreed, thinking that Arizona would indeed be a terrible place to raise a family, what with the summer heat. I have other friends tell me they dream of days where they can transition from our summer to another summer, from our blue water to the bluer gulf water. From one summer utopia to a winter utopia that stays dressed as summer each day of the year. I say this is all foolishness.
We here count our perfect weather days on one hand. Maybe two. This past week was just fine for me, I liked it rather a lot. But it stormed on Monday and it blew on Tuesday and only Wednesday and Thursday were nice days. Today it’s Friday and it’s cool again, cloudy and sprinkly. Like a warm day in late October, except it’s August and some still crave summer. I don’t. The two days this week were plenty for me. I loved them very much, and yet in spite of this affection I feel no particular need to dwell in them. They’re too perfect to expect too often.
It isn’t just late August that has me in this mood. I felt this way earlier in summer, too. A stretch in July where it was hot and sunny, then sunny and hot. A week, maybe more. Steady and unwavering, sweaty and persistent. Then, one day, I woke up to clouds and a wet sidewalk. Rain. My eyes rejoiced in the relief. I needed that day, because who am I if not a Wisconsin creation through and through? I was not made for intense summer, for the constant pressure that it brings. Yes, I know I should go down for a swim because it’s so nice out, but what if I just want to rest once in a while?
Yet here we are. The end of a summer. The kids are back in school, and those that aren’t won’t be able to escape it forever. The forecast still promises summer, and it will for quite some time yet, but the mood has been lost. If you’re sad for that, and you’re ready to escape this place in favor of another place where the summer never stops, I wish you well. I’ll abide your irrational mistake.
But if you’re like me, then you’re reasonably disappointed that summer is over but you’re more than ready for what comes next. You’re ready for cool mornings and still afternoon waters. For a town set free from its summertime rush. You’re ready for all of the joys of a Midwestern fall, and in case you weren’t aware, our kind of fall is glorious in a way that few places can comprehend. But so is what comes after, the cold rain of late October and the transition of color from red and yellow to the dull calm of November. From November to Thanksgiving, to that great feast, and into the first snow. The firewood is idle now, but its time will come. I, for one, cannot wait.