Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I don't know that that's the most appropriate title, as I generally regard the place where I live now as "home," but I do feel kind of...I don't know, sad? Nostalgic? Lonely? for some of the places I used to live.

See, this is not my favorite time of year here. It's hot, it's horribly sticky, it's dry (though we might get rain later this week courtesy of Gustav). It's the time of year where it feels like nothing changes.

I want it to be fall. I want it to be fall quite badly.

I grew up - and until about 10 years ago, lived - in the Upper Midwest. Northeast Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois. And there are some things about those places I miss: the fact that it's beginning to be harvest time there (my mom talked about buying some new-crop apples the last time I talked to her. In the grocery store nearest me, all they have are the tired old "lady" apples that have been flown in from Australia). It's cooling down there. People are beginning to get their fall clothes out.

I miss that. I miss the distinctness of the seasons. Where I live now, we have experienced temperatures in the upper 70s in December. I'm sorry, but that is Not Right. December should be cold. Uniformly cold. It should snow.

And late August should start feeling like fall, darn it. Not feel like summer is that guest, the one who stays long after everyone has left, the one who laughs a few seconds too long and too loudly at every joke, the partier who does the sad old trick of putting the lampshade on his head. Whatevs, summer, I'm done with you. Go and hibernate for another year. Sleep off your binge of heat and humidity and come back when I'm ready to welcome you again.

I kind of get a tiny hint - a tiny inkling of fall. Yesterday I had to walk (mostly) across campus - I had to get my allergy shot and thanks to the fact that there is construction on campus and EVERY SINGLE STUDENT who lives in the FREAKING DORMS has to have a car on campus - and has to park that car as close to the dorm they live in or the buildings they have class in - there are NO spots anywhere near to the student health services. (I really think - and I have told enough people this for it to be considered my "hobby horse" - that they need to designate a couple spots in the closest lot for the doctor and the nurse and the counselor, and they need to dedicate five or ten for people who are USING the health services. Because not all of us who come to health services are perfectly ambulatory people just coming for an allergy shot...)

Anyway, I parked at some distance and walked the half-mile or so to the campus health service (you thought I was exaggerating the bad parking situation, no? It's spaces that were legal for me to park in within a half mile of the place).

The light is beginning to get that yellow tone it does in fall - it's not the hard, white-hot light we get in summer any more - the light that feels like a kleig light, that feels like it's trying to x-ray you or something. Fall light is a lot softer, more mellow.

Walking across campus was pleasant enough (it's still a little hot for my perfect happiness though). The late afternoon light slanting across the lawns, the plantings in full flower. Signs up advertising fraternity and sorority rush. It was fairly quiet...not too many people about (the fact that it was after 4 may have had something to do with that). It makes me long for "real" fall, though. When the leaves turn (well, as much as they ever do down here), and there's that hint of chill in the air that makes you glad you have a jacket in the car. And being able to think about making soup again, or going somewhere to get a hot chocolate.

I miss fall. I miss cooler weather. This time of year makes me feel almost like they will never come back - as if summer will last forever, in some kind of horrible inversion of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," where the evil queen wants it to always be summer and never be...I don't know, never be Halloween or something like that. And where you feel like you're going to melt walking down the street, and you know you SHOULD work on your garden but the heat index is over 95 when you get home, so you don't, even though you fear your "Martha Stewart" neighbor is reporting you to the Nuisance Plant Bureau.

So I'm ready for the season to change. I wish it would come.


Maggie May said...

"And late August should start feeling like fall, darn it. Not feel like summer is that guest, the one who stays long after everyone has left"

That is exactly how it feel here too, Ricki. I know some people love summer, and wish it could last forever. I am not one of those folks, and fall is my absolute favorite. I am so over summer by this time of the year, and yet it lingers. Your analogy was perfect!

Kate P said...

Fall is my favorite, too, pretty much for the same reasons you gave. As much as extreme weather can get to me, I do appreciate having the "change of seasons" as some people call it, where I live.