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Fending off Fall

Updated on September 2, 2014
Sallie Mullinger profile image

Sallie is a retired mother and grandmother who has written short stories for most of her life. Her stories are from her heart to yours.

The waning days of summer remind me that not only is the splendor of autumn soon here, but that it's followed by the darkness of winter

Ahhhh...September. My old nemesis. Youre back yet again, as I knew you would be and with your arrival, also comes the knowledge that soon will follow cold, blustery winds and snow and ice and the dreaded greyness that we know as winter. And winter lasts much too long.

With the coming of September, I reluctantly must say goodbye to summer. Goodbye to that much anticipated, much looked forward to, well-loved season of bare feet and watermelon and brilliant blue skies. I acknowledge that children are back in school, now that you, September, are here and that there is an unmistakable tingle of cooler air at night followed by noticeably cooler mornings. When I look way up to the top of the trees, I can see a tinge of red and orange on the leaves and Im already thinking of long hours of raking and blowing leaves and I am remembering being a child and making huge piles of leaves and then falling into them before my Dad would start a fire and burn all of those leaves. Oh that smell of burning leaves! Its gone from our lives now, but the memory lingers.

I grudgingly look forward to mums in an array of colors and pumpkins and Indian corn and of course, Thanksgiving. I have to admit that it would be perfect, to me, if September hung around a bit longer and carved off some of those dreaded cold, winter months so that we could enjoy all the splendor that is autumn without the lurking knowledge that soon, all of that beauty will be replaced with the dreariness of winter days.

While I like the idea of fall decorating, Im not yet ready to put my summer garden to sleep. Im not quite ready to let go of patio furniture and warm, summer nights and top down days driving. September, you are a transitional month for me. I love you, yet I hate you.You are the month of my mother's birth and on a scorching day almost 31 years ago, you welcomed my youngest child into the world. You brought to our family our well loved daughter in law and a second grandchild.

I still cling to summer fruits and vine ripe tomatoes and while I love soups and stews and a good pot of chili...I have to admit, that I will miss the cold, icy crispness of watermelon.

I get caught up in this every year. I begin griping in July, right after the 4th, when all you see is back to school advertising, designed to make sure that everyone knows that its coming and if you want the best pick of pencils and crayons and backpacks and notebooks and pens you'd better hurry up and take advantage of THE biggest sale ever! Leave us alone, advertisers. We know when its time for the kids to go back to school. Its been a time honored tradition for hundreds of years, signally that summer really is over and its time to stop the hanky-panky way of life we've been living for the past few months. Why cant they just leave us alone and let the seasons change on their own?

Along side the fall and Halloween and Thanksgiving and still back to school sales...we now have Christmas decorations. A reminder to all of us that if we dont hurry, we wont get it. IT being whatever they think we should buy and buy months before its needed. Hurry! hurry! hurry! If you dont buy it wont be there when you're ready to buy it.

I hate it all! I dont know anyone who isnt aware that Halloween comes every year on October 31st and that Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday in late October or that Christmas is going to come, yes, once again on December 25th. And yet, greedy for every dollar they can get, advertisers are out there en masse, months before each season, trying to siphon away the moment we live in.

Maybe thats what really gets to me. What is wrong with the here and now? Is there something awful about living in the moment we are in? It truly IS still summer until September 23rd, and yet all around me there are subtle and even not so subtle reminders and nudges that I need to hurry up and get my fall decorating done or I wont get the best mum or the best pumpkin and oh look! everyone else has their fall decorating already done. Its the same way with all the seasons changing and all the holidays. We cant possibly enjoy Halloween if we dont buy bags of candy in August. And how could anyone possibly enjoy Easter if they havent bought their egg dye when there's still snow on the ground?

I cant enjoy the season I am in or the holiday it is because Im being inundated with whats ahead. And Im being pushed and prodded to ignore what is now and take care of what is coming even if what is coming is coming months from now.

Thanksgiving is a perfect example of this. Its its own holiday. It stands alone and separate from Christmas, yet you would never know that from the barbaric, new "tradition" known as Black Friday which now, truth be told, has actually become "Black Thursday".

I love Thanksgiving because it IS Thanksgiving and for all the reasons we should love it. And not because it signals the day I get to go and fight for the best deal on a new television and not because I can sit and eat my turkey dinner and enjoy my Christmas tree in the living room at the same time.

I loved this simple, all-American holiday as a kid when parents and aunts and uncles and cousins would sit around a huge table literally overflowing with all the traditional dishes and everyone ate and talked and drank and ate again. No one would have ever dreamed of rushing out the door at 6 pm to go knock other people down in order to save a few bucks.

You can drive down any street one week, even two weeks, before Thanksgiving and see houses already decorated for Christmas with trees standing in living room windows already ablaze with lights. By the time Christmas really does roll around, so many people are sick of the decorations and you will hear many of them complaining and saying they cant wait til its over..cant wait to get the tree down and often do exactly that on Christmas Day. You can look around neighborhoods and see dead, lifeless trees lying at the end of driveways like wooded scarecrows, on Christmas night, just waiting for the trash men to pick them up. I have such a feeling of sadness when I see those dead trees. These same trees had branches which glittered and sparkled and welcomed the Christmas season and now have been cast aside, in some cases, literally on the very first day of the 12 days of Christmas.

We need to slow it down and learn to savor every moment of every day and enjoy the now. We are so in a rush to move to the next thing that I wonder if we ever really enjoy any of it.

Im pretty sure I drained August dry. We often hear and often even say that life's too short. Well, it is and the one thing that is as certain as the changing of the seasons is that we dont get any do-overs. Whats here now, is gone tomorrow and we dont get to relive today no matter how much we might wish we could.

So Ive decided to take it all as it comes and to enjoy all of it until its truly time to move on.

I will try to embrace these very late, summer days as they turn into golden Autumn days. I will try to love September as much as I love June and I might even find a way to learn to love Old, Man Winter.

But let's not rush things.


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