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Shoulder Season

September 1, 2013

Summer has been riding high.  After something of a late entry, il Sole Leone did take command of the stage.  It bothers me that the August meteors are the Perseids while the Leonids arrive in November, when those should have been called the Scorpeids.  Yes, yes, it’s because the summer shower appears to shoot out of the constellation Perseus.  As a Scorpio, I feel a bit cheated somehow.  But I digress.

It’s been iced coffee and tiny clothes for maybe two months now.  But, like a purse strap, summer is slipping down the shoulder.  Before it hits the ground, it will tug itself back up a few times.  A grey morning will burn off into one more real scorcher.  A string of sunny days will infuse the old stone buildings with another ration of radiant heat.  But the slide has begun.  There was the most phenomenal cluster of electrical storms I have ever* seen one night two weeks ago.  It sent a cooling airmass on-shore and so it began, the End of Summer.  Underwater hockey practice is finished at the outdoor pool.  Frankly, none too soon.  Even with my awesome new thermal shirt, the water is moving rapidly from refreshing to life-sucking.  The tiniest clothes have already given way to shorts, and even shirts with sleeves of an evening.

*After 20 years in central Ohio & 10 in south Florida, I have seen me some lightning.

That sows a mourning in my spirit.  I relish summer.  I wallow in being warm right down to my fingers and toes.  And September means the end of the unstructured summer which was spread out boundlessly before me such a short time ago.

Labor Day, I think it is supposed to celebrate the end of the harvest, but I don’t know where the crops are finished and in the barn by the end of August.  After our season of leisure & pool parties & barbecues & beach vacations & long long days, we are just entering our modern season of labor.  The kids go back to school.    Something in the air speaks winter to our hindbrains, time to be serious and plan for the approaching cold and dark.

But that whisper also speaks of returning friends, of gatherings and holidays.  Autumn has always felt more of new beginnings to me.  So many school years have molded me to expect new things, new ideas, new schedules come September.  There is an energy in the briskness of fall air which, like cobwebs from the brain, clears away the indolence of summer from the body.

And that feels good, even as it asks for shoes and socks.  The very simple philosophy of Be Here Now reminds me to accept the goodness as it comes, not to fight it for what it is not.  This season, shoulder season, is very much a time of  stretching for me.  I’m not good with sudden change.  I like to know what’s what and settle into it.  Right now, any given day could be Summer, could be Fall.  Every extra day of summer is a gift I should wholly accept, be ready for.  And every day of fall is a new beginning.  So, I wake up and shrug my own.  It is what it is:  Shoulder Season.

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