Technically, Summer isn’t over just yet, but as it always does, it certainly seems to be headed in that direction. Labor Day has passed, the kids have all headed back to school, the Halloween stuff is starting to show up in the stores, and it probably wouldn’t take much looking to start finding Christmas stuff if you were so inclined. Granted, the weather hasn’t turned the corner quite yet. Sure, there were some pretty good thunderstorms here last week, but that kind of intense weather is unusual for this area during any time of the year, so we just chalked it up as an anomaly and moved on. The period of several weeks that falls in between Labor Day and the Autumnal Equinox has always been something of an anomaly. Technically it’s still Summer, and usually the weather reflects this, but at the same time it doesn’t quite feel that way. Naturally, if you’re back in school at this point, you’re too busy with that to pay much attention. On the other hand, if you’re in a position where you have the flexibility to actually use the time for something, it’s a good time to take a trip and avoid some of the Summer crowds while still having some decent weather.
But no matter what you end up doing with the last couple of weeks of Summer, the fact remains that it’s impossible to avoid the fact that Fall is on the way, and it will be here sooner than you think. You try not to pay too much attention to the ever earlier sunsets, the subtle changes of the leaves on the trees or the big crateloads of pumpkins beginning to show up in the grocery stores, but they’re there. Even though it was less than three months ago, the Fourth of July feels far more distant than that. Before you know it the leaves will all be on the ground, the rain will come back for its annual nine-month climatic residency, and then finally the end of Daylight Savings Time arrives, at which point it starts getting dark before you can leave the office in the evenings, just to make the point that this stuff is going to be hanging around for a while. The arrival of Fall is pretty much inevitable, and Nature makes no pretense of being subtle about any of it.
Since the departure of Summer and arrival of Fall is unavoidable (unless you happen to have the means to do the whole snowbird thing and go somewhere nice and sunny for the Winter), which I certainly don’t,) about all you can do is just go along with the whole thing. Nonetheless, as the Summer wanes, it always seems to be a time for contemplation and looking back. It is common to look back at the Summer and ask yourself if you made effective use of the limited amount of summertime you’ve been allocated. Naturally, it’s up to each person to decide for themselves what the answer to that question is. Although some people will have regrets about not having done as much as they would have liked to do during the Summer, I believe there are few people who can truly say that their Summer has been wasted. I suppose if you spent three much on the couch playing video games than you probably didn’t make effective use of your time, but I suspect most people managed to at least make it out of the house every once in a while. I suspect that a significant portion of them managed to spend some quality time on outdoor activities during that period as well. In the end, a lot of them may not have done as much as they would have liked to, but I’m sure they at least did something.
In my case, even though I spent a good portion of the Summer working long hours at work and generally didn’t get to do as much as I would have liked, when I look back at what I did do during the Summer, it actually turns out to be quite a bit of stuff. In addition to the usual stuff (like the annual Disneyland trip, PAX, and the standard holidays) me and my friends managed to do a number of things on the weekends. We made no less than three different trips to the various zoos to be found in the area (Point Defiance, Northwest Trek and Woodland Park) at various times, we attended a number of fairs and festivals of various shapes and sizes, and we generally did a fair bit of not sitting around the house when the circumstances permitted. Of course, no matter what we actually did accomplish over the course of the Summer, there will always be a sense that you could have done more. I find it’s best to just not dwell on this too much. After all, even if it seems far away by now, Summer will be back eventually. In the meantime, it’s getting to be just about time to start thinking about the upcoming Holidays and planning a Winter getaway (although in my case there isn’t much planning left to do; I’ve got most of it figured out already.) Winter is on the way, and there isn’t much we can do besides possibly get out of the way for a bit, but at least I’m fortunate that I do have that option.
In the meantime as Fall approaches and brings early sunsets, cold rainy weather and a general sense of decline along with it, the best we can do sometimes is just play along with it, and realize that even this time of year does come with its own unique set of simple pleasures, even if they might be a bit tough to spot between the piles of dead leaves and chilly winds at times. And even if we do have to slog through the Fall, Winter and Spring to get there, eventually Summer will find its way back. Sure Summer may seem to be a finite resource (especially in a place like this), but at least it’s a renewable one.