Although poets have often extolled the beauty of leaves changing in autumn, I’m in no rush for fall. (Millions of school children agree with me). ABC’s Eyewitness News reports that autumn officially starts on Monday, September 22nd. But doesn’t it seem like fall weather crept up on us early this year? Summer 2014 in New York City has been the coldest since 2004. For the first time in 10 years, there hasn’t been a heat wave (three or more consecutive days of 90 degrees or above). Yes, it’s great to use the air conditioner less and save money on our electric bills. But what about the loss of gloriously warm beach days? Chilling at the beach shouldn’t mean huddling under towels, wearing a sweatshirt, or having your lips turn blue after a frigid dip in the ocean. Guess we’ll have to wait until next summer for balmy beach days, unless you can afford a winter getaway to a tropical island.
Do you find it depressing to wake up each day knowing that another minute of sunlight will be lost? I do. Gradually and inevitably, our days will grow shorter and darker. One day in the not too distant future, daylight savings will be over and instead of enjoying an 8 PM sunset, people will be scurrying home from work in the dark at 5 PM. No wonder there’s an actual disease—Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD!) for depression caused by the loss of sunlight.
Sadly, the temperature has already dropped below 60 degrees on some days and has been below normal most days this August and September. Now I’m forced to rearrange my closets (Ugh!), shift all the sundresses and white jeans to the back and move the black jeans, corduroys and jackets to the front. No more skipping out the door in my sandals and showing off the perfect pedicure. Now socks have to be laundered, but at least it won’t matter if the polish is chipped on my big toe. Alas, it’s time to unearth my shoes and boots, happily abandoned for the past three months.
Of course, fall means Halloween. I have fond memories of pumpkin picking with Henry and my twins when they were little. Many harvest moons ago, dressing my kids in Halloween costumes was a lot of fun, and nowadays welcoming trick-or-treaters—from the adorable to the outlandish—is still fun. Less enjoyable was buying all the candy, arguing with my kids over how many treats could be consumed in a single sitting, (and then trying to resist eating candy myself). After going to the gym and nibbling scrawny salads every day, Halloween is a dieter’s nightmare (and a bonanza of business for dentists).
Speaking of businesses, most people would agree that work slows down during the summer. The frenzied, cut-throat competition to earn a living, grab a cab, make dinner reservations or find a parking spot evolves into a far more civilized way of life as hordes of affluent New Yorkers decamp to their second homes in the Hamptons or Connecticut as the temperature climbs. For those of us who remain behind, the much-emptier city means that restaurants are glad to see us, finding a cab or parking on the street is no longer an exercise in futility (or aggression) the way it is during the fall and winter. Of course, some people, like my husband Henry, thrive on competition and the energy of New York after Labor Day. For those type A’s, New York seems like a ghost town, depressing and lifeless during the summer.
hurrying into fall means welcoming dreary winter days which are just around the corner. Unless you’re a devoted skier or a kid hoping school will close, you’re not hoping for snow. Who looks forward to slipping on icy streets or sloshing through sooty city slush? I used to love to the adrenaline surge that went with rushing from one goal (or season) to the next. But now that I’m older I realize that sprinting through the seasons at top speed only means I might arrive at the final finish line ahead of schedule. Frankly, I’d prefer a summer stroll.