I imagine enjoying these late summer days in the fashion that I do is similar to spending time with a loved one who is on the verge of dying. Moments spent with this loved one are sweet and they are appreciated, but they are heavily tinged with sorrow. These times are the very definition of bitter sweet, when the moment is both pure and lovely but the context is dark and dour. This is what it’s like to win the battle but lose the war. When Owen Wilson walked with his dog through that field, did he forget that the dog would be dead soon? That isn’t to say that a loved one dying is like a dog dying, nor is it to say that a loved one dying is like a season changing, but it sort of is.
The mood around Geneva has changed. It changed last week, and no more evident was that change than yesterday afternoon. I had caught the tail end of the Bear’s humiliation of Matt Ryan, and found my way from the television to the lake and onto the pier. The Loch Vista pier was quiet. Unnaturally so. It was an 80 degree day with unrestricted sunshine, and but a few revelers were present. It was a September pier day, under the September sun, and most of the usual crowd was absent. Kids have a lot to do with this. Selfish kids. With their football and baseball and soccer. They ruin September days. I’m not saying that September sun at Lake Geneva is more important than your little Billy stinking up the football field, but it sort of is.
When I found myself on the boat yesterday, shamefully for the first time in nearly 10 days, I felt refreshed in a way that even a swim in the 74 degree water didn’t rival. It was a September boat ride, where the scenery looks like summer, the water looks like summer, and the boats played and splashed as if it were indeed summer, but the mood broadcast like fall. I drove through the Bay and to Pebble Point, then south to Black Point and west to Fontana. I passed many boaters and skiers and sailors, and while we exchanged waves, it was obvious that we were all boating on borrowed time. Which isn’t to say that a summery September afternoon should indeed constitute borrowed time, but as it is fleeting and bound to wane, it sort of does.
The cold start to September pushed us deeper into fall than I had hoped for, just as a cold June gave way to an immediate July summer. There is little middle ground these days. It is either summer or it is fall, or it is spring and then summer, the transitional periods that I’ve enjoyed seem to occur over singular days instead of weeks. It is summer on a Monday and fall on a Tuesday. There is no in between. Which is why days like yesterday, and days like today, should be seized. As I wrote in an agitated text to a client yesterday, “87 and sunny has an expiration date”, a statement has never been more true, ever. But alas, this client’s boat sat covered and ignored, while kids instead ran across a soccer field in some sweaty suburb. I’m sure your kids are great at soccer, and I wouldn’t ever suggest that a sunny September Sunday at Lake Geneva trumps a September afternoon watching little Kimberly eat orange wedges at half time, except that it sort of does.
Today, the forecast high is 90. There is ample sun, and there is a quiet lake. Many of us have to work, but some of us, someone, somewhere, reading this right now, is planning on going to the mall today. To that someone, I ask you, have you lost your mind? This summer is fading, but it’s still here. There will be a time for fall and a time for shopping and I assure you that time has not yet arrived. I bought a nice pair of fall-ish boots a few weeks ago. I have yet to wear them. I refuse to wear them. I will wear them when it is time, when leaves beg to be crunched and sweaters need to be worn. Until then, I shall wear shorts and short sleeve shirts, and I will wake up and slip on sandals. Which isn’t to say that I wear shorts and sandals every day, except that I sort of do.