A Little More Summer, Please

How did it get to be September, already? It’s still in the ’70s, thank goodness, but the air is sharpening. Ginger tracked dried leaves into the kitchen yesterday. I’ve cracked the porch slider, but I’m wearing wrist warmers against the light breeze as I type.

I live in New England because I love the color and variety of all four season. But every year, I have a harder time letting go of summer. For months, I’ve been living in tank tops and shorts, walking everywhere in my sandals, rarely needing a sweater, even at night. After weeks of extreme heat, two of my finger ulcers finally healed, and I’m down to four bandages. Most Saturday nights, I’ve strolled with Al to the corner frozen yogurt stand for sundaes and savored the sweet-tart coldness.

It’s been many years since the girls were young and the coming of September meant the end of summer camp, no more punting for play dates or meaningful activities to fill all that free time.

The beginning of school was always a rush of excitement, new clothes, new notebooks and lunch bags, seeing friends and meeting teachers. I welcomed the return of structure and predictable schedules, the chance to clear my head and hear myself think once more.

Now, as the days grow noticeably shorter, September means I’m going to be cold again, soon. It’s an adjustment, as much psychological as physical. Back into sweaters and jeans, fleece and wool. Back into jackets and coats even while others are still in shirtsleeves. Back into gloves and hats. Back to numb fingers and hand warmers, too much time spent dressing to go out, too much time warming up when I come in.

September also means the approach of the Jewish New Year, a time of reflection and renewal. For this, I find the crisp air bracing, a source of energy and clarity as I review the year just past and start afresh. Here in Massachusetts, Rosh Hashanah, marked by apples and honey for a sweet New Year, always coincides with apple-picking season. It fits.

Still, I’m not quite ready to let go of summer. Leaves began falling from the Norway maples on our street a few weeks ago. I’m always surprised when I first notice, usually midway through August. It seems too early. So far, just a few leaves here and there, scattered across lawns like random shells washed up on shore. Most trees remain lush green, despite the lack of rain this summer and harsh heat waves of July.

But I saw someone using a leaf blower last week. Emily started classes as a college junior yesterday. Mindi is home for two more weeks before returning to Tel Aviv. Shadows lengthen as we spin on our elliptical path, farther from the sun.

Outside my home office’s bay window, the yews cast a prickled, shimmering silhouette on beige mini-blinds. A neighbor blasts hard rock out an open window. A small plane hums overhead. I’ll walk Ginger soon, wearing my jeans and a sweater. But still in sandals.

Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.


  1. Patricia Bizzell says:

    I love the change of seasons in New England and fall is my favorite. You evoke it beautifully. One more thing: the length of the day is changing rapidly, and I really notice that. I think it makes me feel like fall is on the way even more than seeing the occasional red or gold leaf. I don’t have your same issues with clothing, but I do find that it’s hard to dress correctly at this time of year. I so often go out with an extra layer I don’t need, or without one I do. I wonder when the frigid air conditioning will be turned off at school, but also how hot my office will be on sometimes broiling fall days. My husband and I went apple picking on Labor Day. I think we might have been the only adults there without kids in tow. It was fun and we got some nice fruit for Rosh Hashanah.

    • Air conditioning this time of year is the worst! And yes, it really is confusing to guess what to wear in this weather. I haven’t yet broken down to wear sweaters every day, but it won’t be long. Layers are always the way to go.

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