The gradual fade to gold

We’ve reached the tipping point, I think.

Though this summer never reached skin-melting level here in Maryland, the air has already taken a cooler turn. The mornings are crisper — weather typically reserved for late September. The small tree outside my office window has red in its highest branches, and fallen leaves skitter across streets and parking lots.

This is premature, I know; it’s still August, and not even late August. But the store shelves have already been ransacked by nervous students. Pumpkins, witches and ghouls adorn seasonal aisles. Halloween candy beckons at the grocery store, and costumes will soon follow. Early-morning marketing emails remind us to “take advantage of summer before it’s gone!” (and buy their coconut-scented lotion, of course).

I can’t say I’m sad, exactly . . . we know autumn is my absolute favorite season, and I can’t wait for boots and scarves and holidays with friends and family. I keep thinking of this quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald, then feel a twinge of longing for all that’s to come.

But there’s something bittersweet about knowing our flip-flops will retire soon — that our warm days and humid nights will fade to crispy-brown golden afternoons. Though I love autumn intensely, I’m never so aware of the passage of time as when we say goodbye to this season.

Maybe because so many look forward to it for so long: mornings where we dash out without coats, running with bare arms and legs . . . free and unencumbered. Vacations, cook-outs, toes in sand.

Maybe because I fear another awful, never-ending winter — a frosty season that stretched for months and months last year. Buried under snow piles, the world slick with ice and salt.

But time continues, pushing us with it. We carve pumpkins, watch beloved TV specials and march on.

And how could I ever be sad in a world with pumpkin spice lattes?

As proof that I am nothing if not predicable, I discovered I wrote a very similar post almost a year ago to the day . . . on the Monday before local schools start up again. Fall brings this out in me!

summer’s packing up her beach blanket, heading home

Rainy days at the office are pretty much the worst. I don’t even have to say that it’s nearly impossible to even get yourself out of bed in the morning to get to work — that’s understood. Dragging myself to my feet in the gray morning light, listening to silence as I stumble my way into the shower and manage to throw on some business clothes . . . then driving my Corolla over in the rain. Pulling my purse and tote bag and mug of tea to the door, then struggling to get my umbrella closed. Inevitably, this always results in my hitting myself in the face with a shower of water.

I wish I was back on the boardwalk in Rehoboth . . . We drove out there last Sunday and walked around in the sunshine, savoring the last few moments of summer. Now school’s back in session and, though school isn’t really on my mind at all anymore, it’s still the definitive marker of the end of one season and the beginning of another.

The beach was jammed on Sunday — everyone running around getting ice-cream, ducking in the little souvenior shops, loping along the boardwalk. Ever the photographer’s daughter, I took a lot of “scenic” shots. When we went to Europe last year, my sister and I kept joking that we weren’t going to have any pictures with people in them. I have a thousand historic buildings, beautiful gardens, gorgeous lakes . . . But few featuring my family and/or me. It’s all right, though. I love pretty things! Especially pretty pink things:

There won’t be many beautiful flowers for me to shoot anymore, though: summer’s almost over. Leaves are already scattered across many of the sidewalks in my neighborhood. And there’s definitely a sadness to watching the sun fade away. I do love the fall, though — there’s plenty to love. The crispness in the air; breaking out my slacks and boots; getting to pull my hoodies out of hiding. Though I guess I can’t don my typical fall “college” wear anymore: my jeans, University of Maryland hoodie and flip-flops. But the weekends are fair game!