Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Sound of Late Summer

I was reading once about words, and how sometimes the words we use for things set perimeters that are, in actuality, kind of arbitrary.  The author went on to describe how we see the year divided into four seasons, simply because we have four words to describe the seasons.

As a great worshiper of weather, I was particularly impressed by this example.  Yes, of course, I love summer, that hardly has to be said.  But I love early summer in a very different way than I love late summer.  Early summer has this kind of promise, this pre-4th of July excitement, where you think of projects to accomplish and make lists of books to read.  Early summer is all plans and popsicles.  Late summer, on the other hand, when you can just start to feel a certian crispness to the air in the morning, which makes waking up like eating an apple, that's a different love.  Like, clip-off-the-friendship-bracelet-you-made-at-camp-and-tape-it-into-your-journal kind of love.  It's still summer, make no mistake, but the quality of the sun is different, and you can feel it while picnicking.

One of the reasons I like summer so much is because summer has a communal nature.  It's hot, we're all hot, and we all experience it together.  More than any other time.  Picnics, swimming pools, parks, 4th of July fireworks--these are places of togetherness with strangers.  Late summer is a gradual end to this, and a reintroduction to our separate lives.  The ease of summer into fall is a happy kind of mourning, but a mourning nonetheless.

If I were naming seasons, I would have given late summer a name of it's own.


  1. Val, thank you for putting this into words. I was actually nodding as I read this at work. Plans and popsicles.

    That day came this week when you know everything is different and fall is coming, and it's been on my mind.

  2. you have a way with the words, my friend. i like this.

  3. I looked at this photo and thought, that's rad, is that valerie? then I looked at the toes and I realized no, it isn't you. Loved the post. I believe we have talked about this before, but I like the end bit a great deal. I also like how late summer waking up is like biting into an apple.

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  5. I enjoyed this post of yours that you made on your blog about your thoughts and life. It's fascinating to me how the changes in the weather, not just the calender, are on so many people's minds right now; the color of the light, the temperature, the lengths of day and night. With the early summer definitely comes this anticipatory energy. I feel it. I remember being in college and at the first sign of summer feeling the overwhelming urge to go to the park and lay in the sun only to find that everyone else independently had the same urge. Then I feel an almost frantic urge to get some sort of energy out through the summer; do more, see more, be in as many places as possible before it's gone. Maybe it's the residual DNA of 1000s of years of observed harvest seasons. Now I just go to the farmer's market. But, I hate the heat. So I am at odds with the summer. I love the melancholy of early fall. It's my favorite sensation and I've been looking forward to it for about a month now. Fall better resembles my personality; occasionally stormy but generally in the stable mid-range, a bit sleepy, and a creator of pumpkin pies. I've often thought that weather is a rich element missing in a lot of fiction, especially the subtle changes over a period of time. I've been watching the way the grass in my lawn responds to the changes in the year, because I'm middle aged.