Right now, it’s 66 degrees in Salem, Massachusetts.
69 in Buffalo, New York.
78 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
65 in Falls Church, Virginia.
In all of these cities, the late days of summer are gradually lessening their grip. The heat is still perhaps punishing, the air stale, but people can breathe a sigh of relief—the end of summer is in sight. And with their backpacks and their pencil boxes and vague feelings of apprehension, children are returning to school.
Labor Day is just around the corner—and once that passes, people across the country will be making the transition to fall, with the attendant autumnal colors, cooler weather, references to Halloween, hot beverages, ghost stories, snuggly blankets, and the like.
Here in the deserts of Southern California, it’s not fall, not even close. In fact, the monsoonal humidity makes the 105 degree temps almost—but only almost—worse than the dry 115 degree temps. And yet, summer is passing—soon we’ll be in one of the liminal seasons that I feel like are a hallmark of California. The air will be hot, the skies will be sunny and cloudless, and without a calendar handy, without the 115 degree summer temps or the flash-flooding winter storms, one would be hard-pressed to tell what season it is.
It’s not fall, not by a long shot, not like I knew it in Indiana, but it’s close enough for me to pretend. When the heat abates from 115 degrees, down to a cool 97 degrees at a quarter til 8 in the evening, that’s enough for me to sit outside and watch the last pink rays reach from the Western skies, and listen to the cicadas (an odd and familiar consolation, they are—noisy little fuckers have been everywhere I have lived) mourn the inevitable passing of the summer, and make promises to myself. I’ll start wearing makeup again. I’ll cook. I’ll move back into the craft room. I’ll organize the closet. All things that it’s simply too hot to do now. I’ll read some ghost stories. I’ll put up the fall decorations.
It’s NOT fall. But it’s enough.
At least for now.