I keep being told it is the traditional end of summer. Labor Day has passed. That isn’t enough for me. I’m far more moved by the fact that Game of Thrones has wrapped its season leaving me a year or more to worry about white walkers and zombie dragons. The late-season Gnarly Hopps festival is a blurry memory for many. You can see it in the trees – that slow fade of color from green to brown.
This, however, is Virginia. We hold onto our summers like a puppy with a favorite chew toy. Our kids have been in school for almost a month already so we’re not so fast to proclaim that summer has ended because of an outdated holiday. Labor Day, which is a trigger point for so many communities, is only an extended weekend here. We Virginians cling to our summers through September. Yes, the colder nights are coming, but we still will have some blistering hot days to hold onto. It is one of the things I love about my birth state, it’s unwillingness to succumb to winter until the last possible minute.
I know fall is looming in the distance because Halloween stuff has started to show up at Walmart. I don’t complain. Candy Corn is now on the shelves. I haven’t been quite able to convince my wife that this is a vegetable (“It has corn in the name honey!”) but I do like the fact that it is coming a few weeks earlier this year, even if my cholesteryl levels protest. What is sadder is that I am now letting Walmart tell me what season we are in.
I do look forward to not mowing the yard as often. The leaves will come down, and there’s some clean-up associated with that. Then comes the prepping of the snow blower and the decommissioning of the tractor for the winter. I don’t hate mowing the lawn, but I also don’t look forward to it. It is basically an hour and a half in my life that autumn and winter graciously hand back to me. I would tell you that I use that time productively but I won’t insult your intelligence.
My thoughts will turn to doing a little more Civil War relic hunting, sans the ticks and heat stroke of summer. I look forward to being able to sit on the porch without a slow roast. We recently had a back patio constructed, and I look forward to taking advantage of that as well.
I look forward to visits to a winery (distillery) or two. Picking far too many apples for two people to ever eat at some local orchard. Fresh cider…oh, now that is something to want you to see the leaves turn.
Fall, for me, means I turn to more indoor activities. Visiting libraries, museums, etc. Researching in the autumn is easier and the increasing bouts of cold weather encourage more indoor activities.
As we all look to the gradual change of seasons, I hope you make the most out of yours. It is my hope that things in the country calm down a little bit in terms of the rhetoric and political posturing. I also know that is a forlorn hope. As of late we, as a people, have gotten really good at upsetting each other…often over nothing. At least when the weather gets colder, people stop protesting for their little causes. We are more than willing to protest stuff, just as long as we do it in temperate weather. Our founding fathers would be embarrassed.