I made a cup of hot tea this morning. A few weeks ago, in the midst of July heat waves, this would have been unthinkable. But this morning it’s only in the ‘60s. August, yes. But this is New England.

I know, I know. If you don’t like the weather here, just wait a few minutes. It’s supposed to be a great week, mostly sunny, in the low ‘80s. Today is just a blip.

But my hands went painfully numb after I ate breakfast, my usual, Grapenuts with Lactaid and fresh fruit, orange juice. Everything was just too cold.

I’m not ready for this, not yet. Over the weekend, while taking a walk, I noticed a few leaves had fallen, harbingers of autumn. Six weeks past the summer solstice, and already the sugar maples on our street are beginning to sense the lessening span of daylight.

Back to layers—sweatpants, a short-sleeved sweater, a light sweater pullover, my fleece wrist warmers, socks, shoes. No doubt everyone else is in shirt-sleeves, shorts and sandals. I long ago learned that I have no choice but to accept the fact that I have to deal with my own broken internal thermostat, but the early signs of summer’s inevitable departure always get to me.

It’s a month for transitioning. In 10 days, Mindi will return from Israel after two years living and working in Tel Aviv, to begin graduate school back in the States. Though we’ve stayed in touch via electronic media, I haven’t seen her for a year. Until I can give her a big hug, I won’t believe that she’s finally home.

And this weekend, Emily returns from her live-in summer internship, soon to leave again for her senior year of college. Already, she’s taking the GREs, planning her grad school applications. How did this happen, so soon?

For the first time in four years, we will have both daughters home at the same time, both preparing for the fall semester. Sure to be a whirlwind of intensity, but I am looking forward to us all being together again, even for just two weeks.

Al and I still have a little vacation time planned for August, a few more days to get away from work and responsibilities before everyone gets home. A few more days to linger and relax in the warm afternoons yet to come.

The tea worked. My hands have returned to a comfortable level of blood circulation. Maybe I’ll be able to shed at least one sweater by afternoon. It’s sunny. The trees outside my window are a lush, deep green.

Hang on, summer. Hang on.

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


  1. Pat Bizzell says:

    Just loved this post, Ev. You evoke this transition time of year so well. I’m getting ready to go back to school just like Mindi and Emily are! And I think all of us feel the need to adjust our internal thermostats as the season changes, even if not with your special challenges. I added a layer to my bed covers last night for the first time in a long time.

    Knowing how cold weather bothers you, I’m sure the signs of approaching autumn are somewhat ominous for you. For me, they are exhilerating, I have to admit. It’s my favorite season of the year, and it always gets my adrenalin pumping since I’m always getting ready for school to start at this time–being an academic means that in some ways you never have to grow up!

    • Fall used to be my favorite season, too, because the air always feels so good and the trees are so beautiful. I still appreciate the aesthetics, just hate having to give up the freedom of summer clothes! But it is ironic, how this time of year is all about beginnings when the trees are beginning to go dormant and our bodies start feeling like it’s time to think about hibernating.

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