Neverending Summer

Yesterday photog over at Orion’s Cold Fire wrote a piece, “The End of Summer,” in which he noted that 1 September marks a psychological shift in our perceptions of the seasons, and even though summer doesn’t officially end until later in the month—and the unofficial end is Labor Day—we tend to associate September broadly with the coming of autumn.

He also goes on to make a lot of important points about the return of political commentary, which historically wanes in the carefree summer months; the continued flight of the middle classes from lawless urban centers; and the general skepticism most Americans hold towards our institutions, which we can no longer trust.  They’re great points and worth considering, but I want to focus on summertime.

Readers may have noted that I have never written a post called “The Joy of Summer” or the like.  I’ve certainly celebrated the arrival of summer break, but other than living like a retired person for two months out of the year, summer in the South is a season to be endured, rather than enjoyed.

Sure, it has its moments:  the Fourth of July; swimming; barbecues; and all the rest.  June can be beautiful, especially if we’re blessed with a long spring or an Arctic cold front.

But August and September are brutal—almost depressingly so.  Even us Southerners never really get used to it; we just learn how to endure it as best we can.

Because September is associated with autumnal fun, it’s even more devastating psychologically:  we think it should be at least twenty degrees cooler than it is, so we’re shocked when it’s still in the upper nineties with 100% humidity.  It will stay like that, most likely, well into the month, and the first day of fall will feel an awful lot like the dog days of summer.

Even having lived in South Carolina my entire life, I still commit this meteorological error.  I’m ready to burst out sweaters and cardigans in mid-September, only to find it’s still too hot.  Indeed, while the evenings begin to grow cooler by October, it is still often hot and humid on Halloween.

Of course, it’s not all bad.  As photog noted, the nights are getting cooler.  I’ve even been able to take Murphy out for some walks without being devoured by mosquitos.  And while photog will be shoveling snow from his New England driveway by October, I’ll still be wearing Hawaiian shirts and sipping mint juleps (well, Coke Zero, but you get the idea) on my front porch.

So, while I loathe putting on dress pants and a nice shirt—or, really, doing anything—when it’s so hot out, I suppose it has its upsides.  It’s hard to do sometimes, but I’m trying to make the most of the warm weather and long (but shortening!) days while I can, before the neverending summer flips to bone-chilling frostiness and sunset at 4:45 PM.


31 thoughts on “Neverending Summer

  1. It’s strange to read Autumn and not Fall, as our cousins are wont to call it. Nice but strange.

    The seasons in England are a joy to behold. We can usually feel the seasons as they overlap. Certain smells in the air, the temperature rising and falling, a smoke seen sun becoming sharper in clear blue skies. As it is, we could feel Autumn before September rose this morning.

    At present, the cherry trees, which flank our garden, are still green. Soon, we will begin to see the reds and oranges and browns before the leaves drop off to replaced by bright pink next Spring. I think it’s the the palpable, visually beautiful nature of English seasons that keep us here. The country might be turning to rot in many ways but there is nothing as beautiful as the changing of seasons.

    I’d love to be able to pop a couple of pictures up showing our cherry trees as they change but there appears to be no way to do it.

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    • I would love to spend some time in England for precisely the reason you’ve mentioned. It seems like a country that has the quintessential seasons—a true summer, autumn, winter, and spring. As for my use of “autumn,” I assure you, I use “fall” in my everyday speech, but on a blog with certain intellectual pretensions, I go for the more Anglophilic “autumn.” I’m also particularly pleased with my coining of the word “autumnality,” which I have used at least once or twice on past posts on this blog.

      Here, we really don’t get a true autumn/fall until maybe October. Even then, it can be a crap shoot. November is a safe bet, but we have had very warm Thanksgivings. Heck, there have even been a few Christmases with temperatures in the upper 70s—or higher!

      Audre’s assessment is right—in South Carolina we have a _bit_ more seasonal differences than in Florida, but her breakdown is largely accurate. February is the cruelest month, winter-wise, with March being anyone’s guess. April is usually very nice, but it starts getting hot by May, with the exception of the glorious Spring of 2020, one of our mildest, longest springs in my living memory. I was wearing a sweatshirt in mid-May of 2020, which is practically unheard of at that time of year.

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  2. I’ve lived in Florida since 1981; after one full year here, I realized that September should be renamed “August Part 2”. I try to explain to people that January is our Fall and February is our Winter and March is anybody’s guess!

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    • This is a test message as I have been trying to leave a comment for the last couple of hours but to no avail. So all things crossed that can be crossed before I hit POST.

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      • This post arrived! For some reason I _still_ have to approve your comments. I had to do that with 39PD for the first couple, but now he is golden. I’m not sure when WordPress will accept you as one of us, Alys, but please know that I have accepted you (and your comments).

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  3. The autumn is head and shoulder above the other three seasons as far as this born in November Boomer is concerned. Cool nights, sunny mornings, the gradually changing colours of leaves and vegetation, woolly jumpers, winter strength tights and Christmas on the horizon. Hurrah! This year for the first time in over twenty years I am going to make traditional fruity plum puddings. Of all the Christmas comestibles they are my favourite. Stir Up Sunday, the last Sunday before Advent is the time to strap on one’s pinny and start mixing but as my dearest Audre is longing to taste a proper English Christmas pudding I will be making mine this month so I can get one off to her in good time via Royal Mail. Ingredients are already bought so once the final magic but essential (secret) constituent is delivered I will dust off my largest bowl and get stirring and steaming. Mrs Cratchit would be proud.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That’s probably the most British paragraph I’ve ever read. I agree completely re: autumn. I am a big lover of Halloween, and how it’s the gateway to the holiday season: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. The fruity plum puddings sound delectable; I’m sure Audre will enjoy them immensely.

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      • Figgy pudding is only one of the many best things about the Christmas season and I am twitching to dust off my playlist which runs to a tad over four hours of glorious English choral music celebarting the birth of our Lord and to which I will be adding as new treasures are discovered.

        Halloween is not so much of a thing here as in the US and was always overshadowed in years past by Guy Fawkes (or Bonfire) Night which falls on November 5th and which, incidentally, happens to be my birthday. Nowadays that too has become less of a ‘thing’ as people forget the historical aspect and large organised firework displays displace the small events lots of families used to hold in their back gardens or with groups of neighbours. It is many years since I saw children standing with a rough and ready effigy of Guy Fawkes on the street asking passers by for ‘a penny for the Guy’ in order to buy fireworks.

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      • English choral music is divine, and I’ve come to appreciate the country’s love of great choral music after teaching Music Appreciation.

        Yes, I knew Halloween wasn’t a major holiday for y’all, but Guy Fawkes Night sounds fun. I wouldn’t mind burning some folks in effigy. I hope the children can bring back the homemade effigies. It seems kids would love setting stuff on fire.

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  4. Portly, I was born and brought up in working class South Wales but have lived in Somerset in the West of England for forty years, tha last twenty in Wells, the smallest city (population approx 12,000) in England and home to a magnificent cathedral.

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