Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Long Goodbye

"Late Summer" painting by Bev Bunker
The end of summer is always the same -- like a loud party guest who has overstayed their welcome and is the last person present, summer is the equivalent of that person -- sitting on the host's sofa at 2 a.m. relaying long stories about their trip to Europe last summer while asking if that vodka bottle they saw in the kitchen is empty yet. This is what late summer boils (literally) down to here in wine country. Summer has no dignity, and no clue when it's no longer wanted.

Summer, you were so much fun back in May. Now, if I may state things bluntly, you suck. Go home.

Harvest is in full swing out in the vineyards, and the 105-degree temperatures mess with the work schedules of all involved, since that's just too warm for anything to really do well out in the fields -- both the humans as well as the grapes themselves. And to have this kind of late-summer heatwave (a regular, normal occurrence around here) hitting when pumpkin spice everything is clogging up the shelves in the shops, and when the grocery aisles have featured products staged on clumps of fake fall leaves and hay bales, well, it's just depressing. For me anyway. It's like the best event is going on someplace, but not where you are, and you know you're missing out.

But at least there's a partial remedy for the frustration. And that is for me to take down the summer garden.  Because if I've had it with triple digit temps, it's a pretty good bet the squash plants I put in last spring agree with me. Oh, they're still producing squash, I'll be honest. I'm guessing squash plants will keep on producing after the last nuclear holocaust happens on Earth. The Bible is wrong -- it's not really the meek who will inherit the earth -- my bets are on the squash. 

But right now if I see another dish with squash in it I'll scream. Ditto for eggplant. Tomatoes are not high on my list of favorite foods right now either. They, like the party guest I mentioned in the first paragraph, have just spent too much time here and need to go elsewhere to continue their show.

 I hear spring is just getting started in New Zealand, so may I suggest there?

But as far as taking down the garden goes, some rituals are held not because of a season, but in anticipation of it. So although it feels nothing like fall here right now, I will take out the garden because I know, sure as the sun rises, that fall is coming (someday, hear oh Lord my prayer). 

But I will tell you that although I know the change in the seasons is most assuredly coming, it does nothing to decrease the resentment and restlessness I feel every late summer when I see all those hay bales and pumpkin-spice flavored crap in the stores everywhere. Because fall is my favorite season, and I know its happening somewhere. Just not here.

For now though, here in wine country we'll keep our shorts and tank tops on, harvest the grapes, and just dream of a place where pumpkin-spiced stuff seems right for the time of year. And maybe drink some wine to console ourselves. 


  1. Listen, I said I was sorry about my behavior at your party! Im sorry you're feeling left out of the autumnal glory. September and October are the reward we all think about during our usually awful weather 5/6 of the time. I do always wonder what it's like living in a moderate climate during the fall and winter, when retail, advertising, and entertainment all pretend everyone lives in the Midwest or New England. But I promise I will post a photo of my dead herbs during the holidays when I'd LOVE to be cooking with them. You will feel victorious once more! Sending wishes of cooler weather!

    1. Ah, you are probably right. We definitely get the short-end of the stick where marketing is concerned...after all the fall crap has been taken down everything will feature SNOW because, you know, White Christmas, right? Sigh. The south and west are the perennial red-headed stepchild where weather is concerned. Can we trade? My herbs in winter for your blustery, colorful fall!

  2. We don't get much of a fall around these parts either. Just a tease a week or so ago, lows in the upper 60s & only 81 for a high. Yes, that about sums up our fall here. We may get a couple of more teaser days but then we will get cooler temps. Cooler than fall but not quite winter. The only REAL season we have here is Summer. Although Spring sort of show off every now & then. Hope you get cooler days soon.

    1. Oh, DFW, you said it...the only real season IS summer! It gets old pretty fast, too. Hope you get some cooler weather soon, too. Even a short fall would be better than this endless heat.