The End of the Desperate Season, or What I Didn’t Do on My Summer Vacation

Counting down the days, hours, minutes. Summer doesn’t officially end for a few weeks, but the psychological end of summer will happen tomorrow afternoon, when the CNE closes, when the last stupid air show plane buzzes the neighbourhood, and when kids head home to pack their pencils and books and return to school.

The leaves are already beginning to change on a few trees, and there’s a crispness to the air most mornings that wasn’t noticeable before I went to Halifax a few weeks ago.

Autumn is my favourite season; it’s not too hot or too cold; it’s sunny but you usually need a jacket (I like jackets); and the eating is especially good as the harvest reaches its peak. I don’t even mind winter especially – except maybe those days when there’s freezing rain, or where the sidewalks are slippery because people don’t shovel.

But I’m delighted to see the end of summer.

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June Peonies

I had this great plan that I was going to take my camera everywhere this spring and record the progress of winter into summer. The best laid plans and all that, and I seem to have missed lilacs, apple blossoms, tulips, those trees whose name I don’t know but which produce a gazillion tiny little white flowers that smell like yum, and chestnut blossoms. Oh, and the wild roses that always send me hurtling back in time to my grandmother’s house when I was little and the hedge of wild roses that surrounded her front yard.

I did manage to snag a bouquet of peonies though, and kept them on my desk where I could enjoy them all day. They are such a perfect flower for the end of June, all froofy and frothy and pink like prom dresses and wedding gowns.

Despite the only a bit of hot weather so far (a bonus for me – I hate the heat), here it is already, the first day of summer. Longest day of the year. Now we head back in the other direction towards fall. Maybe not just yet -there’s still many more summer flowers to enjoy a while longer.

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The Sweet Spot

Unlike most of Toronto, I’ve not been overly bothered by our cold, snowy winter. Also unlike most of Toronto, I’m out in the cold four or five times a day at least, which is what happens when you replace children in your life with two large drooling, fur-covered beasts. The huge gritty snowbanks can sometimes be an obstacle, and I will curse and wave my fist in the air with a zeal unknown to all but the emotionally disturbed upon encountering an uncleared sidewalk (shovel your snow, cocksuckers!), but the fresh cold air is bracing, the exercise imperative (for me and the dogs), and getting out of the house is a nice break in what can sometimes be a monotonous day.

Which is not to say that the experience is pleasant.

I try not to complain too much because I think of the other extreme. When the cold wind whips my cheeks to a scarlet red, and that little area above my eyebrows and just below the edge of my hat starts to go numb, I think of August. I look around me on the streets and remember the parched brown lawns, and the feel of sweat trickling down between my shoulder blades as I gasp for breath in the polluted Toronto air. I replace the shriek of wind in the trees with the eerie drill of cicadas. The energy to push on against the cold takes me back to the days when it felt too hot to put one foot in front of the other.

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