If I listen to the crickets and cicadas, screaming their songs into the balmy night, I can believe it's summer. And then I realize that their cacophony is quieter than it was, even a week ago.
If I glare up at the sun, blazing in a cloudless blue sky, I have no problems at all believing it's summer. And then I realize that this is probably just an unwelcome late-season heat wave, and will soon pass.
If I catch a whiff of freshly-mown grass, I know it's summer, and that someone, somewhere, is tired from the work of mowing. And then I think of the green lawns that will soon transform into grey, brown ground.
The farmer's market is still showcasing the fresh produce. The students are still wearing shorts and flip-flops. The air-conditioning is still running. The children are still running through the parks, screeching and laughing and playing. But the winter merchandise is out, and people talk excitedly of all the punkin spice everything, and their Christmas plans--even as they think beyond the holidays and contemplate the bleakness of the long, cold winter.
Even though it should still be hot for a good few days after today, this is the last day of summer. This heat wave will pass, and the land will know to do what it has always done--cycle into the dormant time of the year. Retreat, hibernate, hunker down. And very, very soon, autumn will begin in earnest. I welcome this change, as I hope I will welcome every seasonal change. But autumn, especially, I relish. The beginning is always the best--the beginning of a relationship, a vacation, a new home, or, in this case, the season of celebration and unpredictable weather. And so I love autumn the best. And it is almost here.
Good-bye, summer. It's been a long time since I enjoyed you. It's been a long time since I eagerly anticipated you. I loved you, and I will miss you, and I will welcome you again, in the fullness of time. But for now, I believe it is time to welcome my long-lost, much-beloved autumn. I am ready for it--the misty mornings and stormy nights, the brilliant foliage that's here one day and gone the next, the punkin spice lattes and Halloween decorations, the crisp air, the boots and peacoats, the soups and grilled cheese, the traditions. For the first time in 11 years, I get the privilege of experiencing fall. Its life will be brief, and its death will be sudden, but perhaps it's all the sweeter for it.