Here we are in not quite fall, a.k.a. the time of year when I force my family to eat homemade soup on a 75-degree day and burnt-orange mums mingle awkwardly with fuchsia geraniums on our back deck. On the front porch, an urn of ornamental cabbage and fountain grass looks similarly at odds with the coral tuberous begonias that are still going strong in an adjacent bed. Until those flowers fade, introducing pumpkins into the mix feels like a bridge too far.
Every year, I forget about this limbo season, expecting crisp air to arrive along with the start of school and the half-pecks of Cortlands and Macs at Hannaford. Of course, nature usually takes a more gradual approach, giving us stretches of warm days, interspersed with chilly ones, before the first sustained blast of bona fide autumn weather. The effect is a bit like easing into the ocean for a dip, which happens to be the only way I can get into the ocean here. The lead-up to the plunge (like floral dissonance on a deck) isn’t always pretty — in my case, there is much handwringing and a slew of false promises (i.e., after the next wave, I will dunk). But, while I’m wading, I tend to notice things like the heady scent of the water and the way its cobalt shade fades to a pale ribbon along the horizon.
The last few weeks of summer provide a similar opportunity for taking stock of the season’s simple pleasures. Right now, I feel grateful for weekend bike rides to our kids’ soccer games, coatless walks to the bus stop with our older son, and the outfit (below) our younger guy picked out to wear to school last week.
As I write, I fear the shelf life on this warm-weather preppy-Deadhead look may already have passed.
What are you enjoying about summer’s last gasp and what are you looking forward to about fall? I love reading your thoughts.