They say that the Autumnal Equinox falls on September 23rd this year — according to my calculations that’s five full days away yet everywhere I go people are talking about Fall like it’s here already. It’s like as soon as Labour Day is past we head straight into Autumn without looking ahead or looking back.
Of course nature doesn’t exactly help. The other day, while out riding my bike I came upon a fallen leaf on the sidewalk, nearly falling off from the sheer shock of it. From out of my front window I can see a tree changing which I have to admit is almost pleasant given that here in Toronto trees tend to skip the Fall display and go straight to dropping their dead brown leaves overnight. If I were to get up from my desk, walk over to the window and look out I could see that tree right now. But I won’t do that. I’ll just stay right here and pretend it doesn’t exist thank you very much. And then later I will walk outside the back and pick one of the few remaining tomatoes from the vine and live my happy summer fantasy a little bit longer — five days longer to be exact. I refuse to acknowledge Fall until I absolutely have to. I will not be changing the banner at the top of this website or using the word “Fall” in a sentence to describe current conditions until the absolute last possible second, exactly 04:51 am EST on September 23, 2007. Until then it is late summer damn it. LATE SUMMER!
Don’t get me wrong, I love the fall. It’s a wonderful season. I love the beautiful colours, the cool, crisp air, the smell of wood-burning stoves and autumn leaves, the harvest foods, and I will even admit that I am just vain enough to say that I love fall fashions. As much as I love the summer, there always comes a certain point when it is so unbearably hot and humid that I can do nothing but throw up my arms and surrender to the dirt, sweat, stink, and humidity-induced hair flippage. I don’t think I need to get into my problems with winter except to say that all that layering to keep warm amounts to a personal lack of style that looks and feels like the Michelin Man. Fall fashions, on the other hand, suit me as I’d imagine they suit a lot of people what with the earthy colours, light layers, and stylishly light jackets.
But Fall doesn’t last long enough. It comes and goes in a heartbeat and before I’ve had a chance to really soak it all in winter arrives with the dirty snow, slush, bitter cold and more importantly the end to the gardening season. And while there is a very specific moment right around last week when I am burnt out from the demands of summer and just a little bit tired of thinking about gardening, talking about gardening, and writing about gardening, I also miss it. Those months through the winter without the green, the good smells of living things and living earth, the dirt underneath my nails, the trips to my community garden, the indulgence of an entire fresh tomato or cucumber straight off the vine, the little discoveries, and the buzzing sounds of life…. those are long months of deprivation ahead. And while I know that they are an integral part of the cycle of life here (as much as I dislike winter it’s scarier with climate change watching it come later and for less time than is healthy), and that without those long grey days I might not feel so intensely about the months of lushness and colour, I can’t help but feel a little bit of anxiety right around this time every year that somehow I just won’t be able to make it through these months without it. And even though there are things about the winter that I enjoy too, I have to admit that I’m a winter wimp and could happily do without it.
So I’m gonna hold onto these last five days of summer and then when I have to, when it is all official and stuff, I will give over to this next season and take it as it comes.