By my calendars (both civil and sidereal), it was exactly six weeks until the end of summer when I received the first annual Fall is Here book flyer which read: “Summer may be on its last few pages….” well, OK — time to buy back-to-school e-readers, backpacks, calculators and other “accessories with attitude.” Dozens more of these ads will follow to the drumbeat of Autumn in August. However, as an organism chock full of southern European DNA and a heartfelt love of summer, I object to rushing the season, even in the interest of the Reality Principle that tells all responsible souls to Plan Ahead because Fall Starts on Labour Day.
Oh? Along with all the fall-rush goodies, isn’t there a back-to-school app that shows kids the Autumn Equinox thing? Since many of us live in a climate with long and dreary winters, what masochistic streak/compulsive work ethic prompts us to hurry along those long and glorious summer days? Regrettably, the ninth month has become Official Fall, a business bonanza for back-to-school purchases and fall season specials, and a sad disconnect from the astronomical cycle and the gentle transitions of the natural world.
Canada warms up late enough. We wait until the July 1st holiday to get serious about summer — and then in a scant two months, an advertising media blitz rushes us into the fall season. Nothing wrong with fresh new films and fashions, but the ad tsunami and the back-to-school rush tends to override September’s special joys: three summer weeks, often full of brilliant sunshine, azure skies and no humidity, the stunning lavenders, golds and pinks of flowering cosmos, asters, hollyhocks; a chunk of time when you can still wear shorts and hang out with friends on the patio — sure, the nights are growing longer and a tad cooler; sure it can rain, but that, too, belongs to summer, to its ebbing phase of slow retreat. It’s a season to be savoured like fine wine, “from the brim to the dregs,” as the old song goes.
Summer’s a gift, and one of nature’s kindest. It’s ours to enjoy for a while yet.
In the Northern Hemisphere, autumn 2012 officially begins on September 22nd at 14:49 Universal Time (10:49 am, Eastern Daylight Time).