Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Wednesday After Labor Day

You drop your guard for an instant and first thing you know, the seasons have gone and changed. There doesn't seem to be any way to adjust the default on the way the system works.

After growing up in south Texas, and living in that part of the world for many years, it seems very odd to me when people up here in THE NORTH are stricken with this autumn fever at the end of August and beginning of September every year. Back home, the summer season is so long and fades so gradually into fall – really there's little difference between the weather in August and the weather in late September – you hardly notice the change.

But you certainly notice it here. Everybody goes on vacation in August – gets out of town. And after Labor Day, everybody comes back and gets back to work and the new season begins.

Just like that.

And this year, it's especially irritating because we're still having lovely warm summer weather, even though Labor Day has come and gone. Still, you can see fall coming on. The pace has picked up. The crowds of tourists are thinning out in DC. Fashions are changing. And when he got back from his walk today, M. said the leaves on the maple trees are already beginning to turn from green to pink and gold.

Traffic around here definitely increases after the August break. The Washington Post reported yesterday that the Virginia Department of Transportation calls the day after Labor Day "Terrible Tuesday." People are back from vacation, schools are back in session. Thousands of school buses hit the roads, and so do thousands of parents in their cars.

Ah, to think that this time just last week, I was basking in the sun and dipping my toes in the surf on the Delaware coast. And here I am this week, already leafing through the Fall 2007 L.L. Bean catalog. Oh, and another Rite of Autumn has occurred. I picked up the September issues of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar the other day at Border's, and regretted I hadn't brought along a wheelbarrow to help get them out to the car – they get more massive and more ridiculous every year. But fun to read, if you don't take the fashion silliness too seriously.

What else? Well, our outdoor pool is closed now - the lounge chairs all neatly stacked, awaiting storage - the bikini-clad lifeguards all returned to Charlottesville and Pittsburgh and Dubrovnik. Most years, our condo association gets talked into stretching the season a bit and leaving the pool open for "just one more week" after its official day-after-Labor Day closing date. And every year, it always turns cool and rainy and nobody gets to enjoy the pool during those extra days. This year, of course, they were adamant about closing on time, and naturally we're having gorgeous summer weather this week – perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Go figure.

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