Running this morning, as I was turning around at my terminus in Cedar Hollow, it seemed to me I was making good time. It also seemed that my run was taking too long; I had other things I need to do this morning. It was a fairly cool and yet humid morning, not unusual for August. We have been taunted in the past few weeks by cooler days here and there, though there’s of course plenty of summer left. Already I am hearing people talk about the fall and its many pleasures. I have a sense that I’d like the summer to be over, as well as a sense that I have not enjoyed the summer enough—have not fished, or camped, or walked in parkland and forest enough. Where has the summer gone? Why won’t the summer go?
In a culture whose summer begins on a day called ‘midsummer’ and whose winter begins at ‘midwinter,’ I’m not sure my feelings are all that unusual. There is always in imprecision in how we define seasons, and in how we feel about them.
The universe is not precise. Despite theories about God as omnipotent watchmaker, the watch does not keep good time, and our timekeeping is a precise system laid over a frustratingly imprecise cosmos. Summer may run from June 21 to September 21, but summer weather runs for as long as it runs: some years, especially lately, it’s been up until mid-October. We gauge the beginnings of the seasons by the sun’s behavior—solstices and equinoxes—but it takes the sun a while to render the terrestrial changes that make for a new season. Given the panoply of other factors, such as wind and rain, that make our weather variable, our wishes for sudden changes in the season are not without foundation.
It’s going to be a hot one today, temperatures in the mid-90s and humid. I’m used to it, the problem is staying used to it, like a lingering backache or a headache that won’t go away. I am going on vacation next week, kind of the high point of my summer, and I am anticipating it with delight. Oh, how I wish the summer would end!