And all at once, summer collapsed into fall, Oscar Wilde wrote.
But, for me, such was not the case. I experienced fall like a wave coming in from an ocean of air in it’s own rhythm of ebb and flow of environmental changes. It would retreat yet come back again. Often. Before winter arrived in the same manner.
Fall was here one day. Then stayed a few days, then gone. Summer arrived, again, right on the verge of fall. Knowing fully that Fall would return gradually into winter, I don’t let idle talk fool me. Summer meets fall. Fall meets summer. Like a dance they intertwine sometimes as one.
Those days of merging and swinging seasons were before the time marked by numbers in print, that tells us today it is summer on #22. And the next day, #23, in the 9th month, is now Fall. Numbers tells us now fall is here. But my senses don’t just read numbers.
#22 then 90 degrees. Then 49. Then 72. Perhaps a momentaily collapse. Agreed. But a season of swings. Daily swings. Temperatures are not alone. Nor numbers. Colors change. Activities. Behaviors.
Children forced into fall activity before summer’s end. Vacations sprinkle on. Harvest transitions the human movement.
Yes, before that day marked on the calendar, I planted my fall crops of lettuce, spinach, carrots and radish during a week when cool temperatures had arrived in time for seeds that demand a break from the sun. I turned my fan off at night and a cool breeze slips in the door into a warm house.
And then in a roundabout, some two weeks later, my house is cool. But it is not the 23 day of the 9th month. The soil is dry and the days hot, and the spinach seedling hides from the sun waiting for the coolness of promised Autumn. In the meantime, I weeded around growing plants with sweat just as I have in the middle of any July day. Of course, we say, it is still summer. Indian Summer, they say. I close my front door to hot sun, to warmed air and the fickleness of gardening weather and weather talk.
And when that printed number arrived for us and all the voices around me, claimed Now. Now it is it. It is fall, I ate a my second fall garden salad just as I had eaten my first spring garden salad. They join and dance together in creation of life.
No! Summer doesn’t just collapse into fall, Oscar Wilde!