Look, I get it. We’re all sick of summer.
The smotherblanket of humid air, the halo of bugs hovering around our heads, the unfortunate high-waisted shredded short-shorts that are in fashion right now—it all just needs to end.
I, more than anyone, need the seasons to shift. I’m so over cramming errands into the early morning so I don’t combust into a burnt cloud of glitter and rage in the Publix parking lot. Last week the heat index converged with my hot flashes to form my own personal heat dome to scald anyone who comes too close, and not just with my salty language. I’d travel to California, but my mere presence might cause my favorite redwood forest to burst into flames. (Not a joke, just a blazing fact.)
Fall is my favorite, for sure—my birthday, Halloween, obscure root vegetable recipes. Believe me, I want to stroll through a breezy park sipping a clove-scented hot beverage as much as the next person. I, too, look longingly at my light jackets and leather booties and lament, when, my darlings?
But y’all need to stop trying to make fall happen.
The second it turned September, my feed started filling up with rhapsodic memes about pumpkins and falling leaves, and it’s just not cool—literally. Don’t talk to me about corn mazes when there are still fire ant mounds are all over my yard. At the very least, it’s irresponsible given that we are in the Lord’s year of 2021 and know full well that the Autumn Equinox doesn’t even come until Sept. 22, when nights officially become longer than the days in the Northern Hemisphere (and are then made longer by the end of stupid Daylight Savings nonsense on Nov. 7.)
I know people are excited to wear socks again, but the ancient Mayans did not track the heavens and carve massive pyramids just so we could guesstimate precise astronomical calculations, OK?
It’s been a longtime custom to usher in fall at the beginning of the school year, which makes sense if you’re a third grader in 1970s New England. Here in Savannah where public school has been roasting in session since the beginning of August, it’s just downright poor education. As if the bus driver strike wasn’t bad enough, some confused kid in Pooler right now is coloring a lovely maple leaf scene in various shades of dead lawn brown.
If we’re going to get dramatic about it, and yes thanks I will, faking fall could be contributing to the downfall of Western civilization, as if it needs any help. The dependable rotation of the seasons has been a touchstone since prehistoric times, yet scientists’ recent proclamation of climate change as the greatest threat to public health totally tracks with the head-shaking percentage of the population who quibble with the laws of physics.
Alarmist plaudits aside, faking fall just isn’t in good taste. That pumpkin spice latte will curdle the second it hits open air, and the autumnal palette of reddish oranges and rusty browns doesn’t suit the harsh glare of a post-hurricane Southeastern sun. Same goes for heavy fabrics. Don’t make me corduroy shame you.
Then there’s you folks trying to speed up Halloween. I’m all for celebrating the macabre, and hopefully there will be another Witches’ Dance in Forsyth Park this year. But do you have any idea what strains of bacterial horror will happen if you carve a jack-o-lantern and leave it out in 87 degrees? Also, to the uber-enthusiastic neighbor who already put up tombstones and scattered limbs across your lawn: You look like a very sloppy serial killer. Not cute.
Anyway, it’s not like sorcery needs a certain time of year—I hereby count the rest of the millennium as the Season of the Witch (please culturally refer to the timeless Donovan song, not the terrible Nick Cage movie.) If you want to pick up every stitch and conjure some spells, go see local art alchemist and crochet mistress Becca Cook at her new shop OK Bloomer on Abercorn Street—she’s got all the plant-based enchantment for your patriarchy-burning needs.
As much as I love magical thinking, I just don’t think it’s healthy for us to fudge Mother Nature’s planetary principles. Sure, there are a few signs that it is almost time for the “wild leaves to loosen” as poet Rainier Maria Rilke says, such as the yellow butterflies alighting the lantana and so many rabid Georgia football fans afoot. (Could it be that Saturday’s win was helped along by Clemson’s hideous orange jerseys? Just sayin’.)
But it’s important to keep expectations reasonable, and we’ve got at least six more weeks of sweat mustaches in store. If we’re to get through these “challenging times”—or as we say in my house, The Long, Slow, Constant Apocalypse—with our dignity and sanity intact, facing reality is key.
And if we can keep our body temps below immolation, these last weeks of summer might not be so bad. There’s those glorious sunset evening hours to cherish; just don’t forget the bug spray. Plus with Labor Day crowds in the rearview, the beaches become far more pleasant, especially now that they’re enhanced by Tybee Island’s new cannabis ordinance.
The Earth’s axis doesn’t lie; it’s one of the last true things we can count on. So let’s hold off on the Spirit Halloween decor and cinnamon-scented beverages for a while longer. May I suggest a cold boba tea with sea salt foam from the newly-opened Ice Bing Cafe on MLK Blvd while we’re waiting? Also, gastronomic masterminds Natasha Gaskill and Matthew Palmerlee are popping up another mouth-watering ice cream social Sunday Sept. 26 at Finches in Thunderbolt—though it will be technically fall by then, you have not known real refreshment until you’ve downed a cone of Tahini Grape Ripple.
We’re all ready for fall’s sweet chill, but don’t rush the summer’s final yield. As Rilke says, the shadow on the sundial will lengthen on our human endeavors no matter what, and we can use these “days of warmer light to hale them golden toward their term.”
We’ll be rocking our booties soon enough.
Stay cool and kind, friends ~ JLL