Sigh. The summer is starting to wind down. I find myself feeling a bit of the melancholy that creeps up on me every year at this time.
Don’t get me wrong; I love the fall. Autumn is my favourite season, hands down. I love the colours as the leaves turn. I love the quiet as the summer rushing about comes to an end, especially up north. I love the smell of wood burning in the fireplace. I love that the days are warm but the nights are nice and cool. If we get a good, warm Indian Summer, all the better, because it’s like the summer warmth has decided to stay for awhile and with that, the summer clothes.
But I am a summer person at heart. I hate the cold with a blinding passion. As a kid, I stayed in through the winter. Hated the cold. I tell people one of the reasons that I got involved in volleyball was because it meant I could exercise but still stay indoors through the winter. So when the spring comes, I feel alive again. I get spring fever something awful. And then in summer, if everything is right and I have all the comforts of water to swim in and someplace cool to sleep, the hot days are wonderful. I spent my childhood outdoors in the summer from sunrise until sunset, swimming in the pool and suntanning and tumbling in the yard and just generally worshipping the sun. I went to camp and played volleyball out in the sun from dawn until dusk. If the world was perfect, I would still be doing all those things. Okay, maybe just the swimming and the sunning; I am too old for camp, and my back handspring-back tuck combination is long gone. But, we don’t have a pool, or a cottage by a lake that I can move to from May until October. So by default, I have come to love the fall.
But the end of summer brings about a peculiar bittersweet feeling just the same. Another summer has passed by. I did not spend as much time outside as I should have. I did not soak up all the warmth and do all the yard work and swim all day. I am one year removed from the kid by the pool. One step closer to the awful cold and snow and ice I hate so much.
I sometimes wonder if this is one of the reasons I have had such wanderlust all my life. The need to get away is always heavy in my chest. My father is very much the same. He says he joined the Air Force to see the world; he saw Flin Flon. But he has always hated the cold like me. He’s always yearning to go somewhere new, see something new. And those places are never, EVER cold. He doesn’t yearn, for example, to see Tuktoyaktuk or Iqaluit. He wants to go somewhere warm and sunny and, usually, by the water, like Portugal or Cuba or Spain. I totally understand that. If I could, I’d pack up BDH and the girls and move to Barbados or the Cayman Islands for a couple of years. Or even someplace temperate like New Zealand or Ireland, someplace without 2 feet of snow for 4 months of the year, someplace without freezing rain, someplace where the temperature rarely hits -15 degrees. But that will never happen. I chose to live with four homebodies, much as my father chose to live with a Winnipeg girl. Canada is in their bones.
And so, I feel a bit of a pang in my heart with the passing of summer. But it doesn’t take me long to get into the swing of things in the fall. Once the vegetables are in and the garden and all the summer tools are cleaned up, I am ready. With the first frosty morning, the sweaters are out, the cooking begins, and I settle in for a lovely autumn. It’s just letting go during these last few days that’s hard.