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Saturday, September 17, 2011

End of summer lament



I select a turtleneck instead of a shirt, pull on a jacket and wrap a scarf around my neck. Outside it's chilly. Not really cold, but there is a definite nip in the air. The wind makes me turn up the collar of my jacket.

When I look up I see a gray sky packed with low hanging, fast moving clouds. I feel like turning around, going back inside and crawling into bed. I feel like joining the bear and the squirrels that hibernate until March or even April.

As I leave the subway station and climb the stairs to street level, I zip up my jacket and walk facedown, looking at the pavement. Instead of a flimsy skirt, I now wear slacks. Sandals have been replaced with shoes. Soon shoes will have to make way for warm boots.

On my way to work, I see plenty of people who are dressed like me. They wear sweaters, jackets and scarves. They no longer sashay, but stride with a sense of purpose and urgency. They no longer look around, checking if they are seen. Now they, too, walk with bended heads.

Looking up, I don't like what I see. Some trees are still green, but they are thinning. Others are turning yellow. Were they yellow yesterday, or has this happened overnight? Leaves in various shades of gold and brown rush along the pavement and swirl around my feet. When I step on them they make a crunchy sound and turn to bits.

The lilies in the flowerbeds are hanging their heads. They look sad, like they know their days are numbered. The geraniums are still there, but they don't look as radiant anymore as they once did. They have not seen the sun in a few days and they seem to suffer from a lack of warmth.

I suffer from lack of warmth too. It is bad enough that fall has arrived; but, that we have not had a proper summer makes it all the worse. We had a few warm days, but those days felt more like spring than summer.

Where are the days when it was already warm early in the morning and one could just feel that it was going to be scorching hot later on? Where are the days that people were sitting in the shade, huffing and puffing, fanning themselves against the heat? There has been no heat this summer.

Although I am not a big fan of the scorching heat, and I moan and groan at the sun like everybody else when it is really hot, the notion of heat when one is desperate with ice cold hands and feet is a nice prospect. It's something to get one through the moment, through the day and through the long winter. But somehow we have been cheated. Summer has passed us by.

As I stand in the kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil, I look out the window. It has suddenly gone very dark, it is raining and drops of water are steadily trailing down the glass. It is like Mother Nature is crying. Down below the red and white lights of traffic contrast against the wet, black street. The reflected colors remind me of a lit-up Christmas tree.

During lunchtime I go outside to clear my head. There is some blue in the sky now, but still far too many gray clouds. A few intrepid souls are braving it and are going for a walk. I have no such intentions. I would rather stay inside and go in search of a hot bowl of soup.

The park, usually packed with lunchtime office workers and tourists, is now almost empty. There is nobody strolling along the gravel paths; nobody squatting on the grass; nobody sitting under a tree on a shaded bench. Now there are only pigeons and seagulls pecking at whatever they can find. A few people are standing around in a watery sun, bundled up with coats and scarves.

Just before I go back inside I look up and see a flock of Canadian geese. Are they heading south already? I wish I could grow wings and join them.

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