According to the calendar, summer doesn’t end until the autumnal equinox about three weeks into September, but Labor Day Weekend always feels like the fiscal end of summer, even if I no longer measure the year according to school vacations, as I did when I was a child, and as many do who have children now.
In our neighborhood, the school children disappeared from the streets in mid-August, which seems unusually early, but they also get out in late May. I’m not sure why. All I know is that the beginning of their school year brought an end to the sound of laughter as they chased each other around the neighborhood on impossibly small bicycles, stopping to greet my dogs if we happened to walk down the block where they were congregating that day.
Soon, I know, other endings will come: the end of hot, sunny weather, the end of leafy green trees, the end of nearly infinite twilight, and the end of an undecorated park, because there are no holidays between Independence Day and Labor Day for the Homeowners’ Association to celebrate with kitschy ornaments and seasonally colored twinkle lights.
While summer may be over, however I don’t see fall as any kind of ending. I find renewal in the turning of the leaves, refreshment in the cooler weather, inspiration in the earlier nightfall, and comfort in cozy evening spent at home, dressed in pajamas and fluffy slippers, and sipping tea or hot cider, while a fire crackles, and soup simmers in the crockpot.
Summer is not soup weather.
Summer is for salads.
If fall is an end to anything, it is the end of the time when I happily choose salads over warmer, more substantial foods. Bring on the pot pies and meatloaf – I’m ready for meals that require two utensils, instead of merely one.
So, while this weekend may be the end of summer in some senses, it is not the end of summer clothing, iced espresso drinks, or pink hair. I drink iced espresso throughout the year, summer clothing and winter clothing overlap greatly in our climate, and the pink hair is here to stay for a while, because it also signifies an end, and a beginning.
The end of stagnation.
The beginning of creative freedom, and personal fulfillment.
The end of summer.
But not “The End.”
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