It’s August 23. First, Happy Anniversary to my Mom & Dad! 41 years, going strong. Amazing. Thank you for showing me how to hang in there for the long haul.
Again, it’s August 23. Where I live, August is the hottest of the hottest months in one of the hottest cities in one of the hottest states. So it’s hot. And humid. The temp gauge in my car read 102 but according to the very chipper weatherman this morning, it feels like about 110. Did I mention that it’s hot? And unlike most reasonable states, August is not the end of the heat. It starts cooling off in October. If you’re lucky. November and we might turn off the A/C and get out a sweater. Maybe not though, but for sure December. Last year we even got a white Christmas. Though the year before that it was 60 and sunny. And it’s like this every year, it is not a new occurrence and it is not due to global warming. It’s just Texas, ya’ll.
I write all of this to preface what I am about to say next. So you can understand the absurdity.
This morning on my walk, I felt a hint of fall. A slight breeze, a whiff of anticipation. Of fall colors and pumpkins and falling leaves. Of college football and rainy days and drinking tea in the late afternoon. Of the slight chill chasing off the lingering heat of the summer, of schedules and new beginnings and new plans and new ideas. Of cozy sweaters and tall leather boots and jackets. Of pumpkin spice lattes and chicken pot pie and soup. Oh lordy, I love soup. And new television shows, and fall movies and Halloween and Thanksgiving. You get the drift.
Walking my dog (black, panting after one block), rolling the stroller along with O (white, pale, almost translucent, covered in sunscreen and lolling listlessly, dumping his entire sippy cup of cool water in his lap), the air seemed different, as if summer was starting to pack up, starting to take it’s last final lap around the lake before it began putting away its swimsuits and BBQ’s and hot dogs and late evenings watching fireflies and drinking Coronas, of pool splashing and early morning walks drenched in sweat, of the sound of kids playing all day, of ice cream and loose linen dresses and wavy hair you let dry in the summer sun. I felt it, the subtle shift. The neighborhood seemed quieter, the women on their morning walks seemed lighter and happier and more purposeful. I began to feel the urge to clean out my closet and start shopping for a fall jacket.
And then I realized it was because school started today. Now, this shouldn’t really affect me. O is way too young for school and none of my friends’ kids are old enough for school yet. But there it was, that moment when summer begins its long and stubborn slide into fall. At least in Texas. In Texas, summer is quite reluctant to give up its turn at the diving board. Summer is very much a bully and something of a show-off. On the East Coast, Summer is easy and lies down at the first flirtatious wink from Fall. Fall is definitely in charge over there. California, well, they don’t even know what Fall is. They have Flip-Flop season and Not Flip-Flop Season.
And knowing how very far away true fall is, I couldn’t help but wonder about my inexplicable notion that I could “feel” Fall. Clearly I can’t. It couldn’t be hotter outside. Things are melting out there. So are we that susceptible to suggestions around us? Halloween decorations are already out at local stores. I have been getting catalogues full of adorable fireflies and turtles and ninja costumes that my clueless one year old can wear. TV is slinging its commercials for new fall television shows. And football, blessed football, is already back, though in its boring and toothless NFL pre-season form. Kiddos are going to school, the neighborhood pool is only open on weekends now, and the college kids are back in the coffee shops. Not to mention my 400 pound September Vogue preening on my coffee table, chock full of delicious fall fashion that I will never get to wear here.
But instead of dreaming of real seasons that happen when they are supposed to, I am trying something new. You see, every year that I’ve lived here (3 years now?), I get really angry come September. I want a real fall. And I want it in September. Come October and I am downright pissed that I can’t wear a sweater and shiver. It’s still like 80 here in October. And in July? When I want to take walks and drink coffee outside and have happy hour on my back porch? It’s impossible because of the heat and mosquitoes. Really, the seasons apparently don’t give a shit so all that results is a grumpy lady.
So this year I am trying to just enjoy what I’ve got. So it’s not anywhere near fall weather yet. So I won’t be able to wear a sweater till November. But you know what? I can swim till October in a non-heated pool. And I won’t HAVE to wear a sweater till November. And when the rest of the country is freezing, I can take long walks and drink coffee outside and have happy hour on my back porch. In November. And sometimes even December. It’s all relative.
Though right now it’s gray outside and I’m sitting in Starbucks drinking tea and eating a pumpkin loaf. It’s so cold inside due to the A/C that I am wearing two sweaters. Can I just say that I’m starting to get really excited for Christmas?