Nevermind that Oscar was an odd fellow, we have canonized many of his poems and words and novels and because of this we remember him. In autumn, we dig up one of his most famous quotes and instagram girls pick the most romantic font they can find to scroll this phrase over a picture of a few fall leaves purposefully strewn over their new leather boots.
…and all at once, summer collapsed into fall.Oscar Wilde
What an amazing collection of words. They create an incredibly powerful image, one where summer is left behind and fall arrives. A quick, swift, and sudden turning of the page. We should applaud the thought, but we should also recognize it for what it is: One Huge Lie.
It’s difficult to call out a dead person on their lies, but it must be done. The supposed sanity of our present day relies on it. At issue isn’t the fact that fall follows summer, nor that if you’re stuck in under a rock that it might appear to present itself all at once. At issue is the reality that summer fades into fall, not at once, and not in a hurry, and not even in sequence. Summer doesn’t so much collapse into fall as much as it toys with fall. It tickles fall. It pursues fall and then it withdraws. Summer does whatever it wants, when it wants.
I’m not like Oscar. I see summer fading to fall as early as August 1st. I know what’s coming. I can see it in the dulling of the greens. The grass fades as does every leaf, not all at once but in easy harmony. They don’t fight it because they can’t. The bean fields turn slowly, a golden leaf here and there before the few turn to patches and the patches turn to acres and the acres turn to a sea of momentary gold. As soon as they turn the leaves drop, exposing what was there all along: Nothing more than a skinny stalk with a few pods of beans. Drying and dead, the combine comes soon and leaves behind nothing but a chalky field of dust. How could we confuse this process with anything resembling a collapse?
Much like the Pontoon Lobby and Big Ag, I’m sure I’ve now created even more enemies. This time, the Oscar Wilde Defenders, militantly organized under their OWD banners. I’m not afraid, because I have on my side the visual proof of my stance. Consider today. It’s summer but it’s fall. It’s fall but it’s summer. It’s both, at once, because that’s how summer always ends.