Summer went by way too fast. It always does. This is what summer feels like, like it’s over, like it never really had a chance to get going. When I’m freezing my ass off in February or early March, I imagine what May is going to feel like, those first full days of warm weather. And then I blink and it’s late August, it’s September, it’s right now.
I was standing around talking to someone about the weather, about the change of seasons. Lately I’ve been seeing all of the school buses out during midday, I guess doing their practice runs or whatever they do to ensure a smooth first day of classes. And even though I don’t go to school anymore, I still have those sense memories, like something is ending and something else is right around the corner.
“I can’t believe summer’s over already,” I say it and I’m already tired of saying it. It’s unoriginal. There’s nothing that I’m adding to any conversation. It’s kind of like I’m just throwing these words at people, hoping that someone might make something with them that I can’t. Before I even give the other person a chance to respond, I’m already spitting out more, “But I love the fall. I just love the fall. Yep. Fall. What a great season.”
This one guy said to me, “Yeah, I guess fall’s OK. But I always have such anxiety about the summer actually being over.” And that was already better articulated than anything I could have hoped to have said. I keep having to remind myself that we still nice weather, summer weather, and yet I’m already writing it off as if it doesn’t exist. I don’t want to see the summer go, so I pretend like it’s already gone, like what I’m actually wanting is to be somewhere else.
But I heard this other person tell me about his reservations, and it cut through whatever it was that I was telling myself to make me feel better about the passing of time, the changing of the seasons, the inevitable drop in temperature followed by holidays followed by a long winter followed by, what, another August?
And while, yes, there is something real to the seasons, a lot of what we’ve constructed as these four periods of equal time is artificial, just another way that we try with varying degrees of success to force the natural world to fit into our preconceived notions of how things should be. Maybe it’ll be hot until November. It’s not totally out of the question to have a really warm stretch of weather lasting all the way until the beginning of winter.
I can’t talk about the weather anymore. But I do have a definite anxiety about the end of summer. Once it’s fall, once I have my feet firmly planted in September, October, or November, I know that I’ll be OK. With summer in the rearview mirror, I’ll be free to really enjoy the colder weather, and when that weather gets to be too much, once that winter chill finally works its way deep into my bones, I’ll be able to start longing for the warmer temperatures of spring.
But whenever I think about the summer, whenever I try to take stock of my existence in any of these seasons, it’s never June or July, it’s always late August. The good months fly by without so much as a blip on my consciousness, but the final weeks stretch out forever, all characterized by that anxiety, the stress of losing something that’s not really there in the first place. Because what is an ideal summer day? Is it really just the temperature or my own physical comfort? Or am I longing for something else, being together with friends and family, maybe just slowing down a good moment for a while, delaying the inevitable end. In constantly skipping ahead, I’m losing track of what I’m enjoying right now. I’ve got to stop prematurely mourning what I haven’t yet lost.