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The Long Goodbye

By Lori Welch Brown

I refuse to say goodbye to summer in August.  I know—vacations are over, school is starting, but still—summer doesn’t officially end until September. And, those first couple of weeks in September are glorious!

I get it though—August is the beginning of the end. By mid-August, maybe I am a little teensy, weensy bit ready to part ways when the mere act of walking out to the end of my driveway feels marathon-esque. My hair has taken on epic proportions thanks to the same humidity that snaps the life force from my body and has me shopping online for fainting couches.

And, just like that, I’m fantasizing about the black leather boots lying dormant in my closet and all those adorable fur-lined jackets calling my name. Even in endings rest assured there is something to look forward to.

Saying goodbye is never easy, but it is made less hard when there is something new to step into—like a pair of beloved boots or perhaps even a new line up of classes. As a kid, while I was devastated by the notion of summer break closing in on me, I was simultaneously excited by the prospect of a new pack of No. 2 pencils, some colorful notebooks, and a new lunch box. It’s the yin and yang of life. Goodbye summer, hello Scooby Doo lunch pail.

In adult world that may translate to goodbye bathing suit, hello boots. Or goodbye outdoor running, hello gym. Goodbye lazy days on the beach, hello rhythm and routine.

It’s at this time of year, however, that I am grateful to live in a place where one can actually experience a change of season—and not just by the flipping of a calendar page. I get giddy at the thought of driving through Virginia wine country with the windows down—no A/C needed. Just thinking about the crisp mountain air is intoxicating. There’s nothing better than strolling down King Street in the evening without worrying about breaking a sweat. And, I don’t know about you, but I don’t need it to be 80 degrees to indulge myself with some ice cream.

Not only is it great to look forward to change, but it’s great to be able to feel GRATEFUL for the change. So much in life is out of our control that often change feels disruptive and unpleasant, discomforting even. When change happens that we can feel good about, we should embrace it and throw a party. I guess that’s why Starbucks came up with pumpkin-spiced lattes—it’s a party for fall.

Speaking of which—another thing to get excited about is the changes at the farmer’s market. Goodbye berries, hello apples. Goodbye watermelons, hello pumpkins. Goodbye corn, hello squash. Demeter, the Goddess of Harvest and Agriculture, has us covered!

I know there are those of you, who shall remain unnamed, who are already counting the days until Christmas. You know who you are and so does Hobby Lobby. They’ve already started lining their shelves with green wreaths and red bows for you. While I am doing my best to embrace change, I’d appreciate it if you would at least let me get through Halloween and have my first sip of ale before you start pushing egg nog and harking herald angels on me.

Summer—we are not ready to say goodbye. Even though you are making us slightly irritable and cranky with your blazing temps, we still love you. This is why God invented the ocean and inflatable pools. As long as there are watermelons to eat and hamburgers to be thrown on the barbie, we are gonna keep showing up—even if our bathing suits are starting to get a little tight across the rear from all that potato salad and ice cream. Which by the way, is our way of starting to store fat for the lean winter months ahead.

Speaking of “Barbie”, how psyched am I to see Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling bring Barbie and Ken to the big screen?! Cover me in pink, y’all because I have been waiting decades for that summer blockbuster. I don’t even care if it turns out to be a flop buster, I’m all in.

Barbie and Ken are the epitome of summer—tanned bods, surf boards, and bikinis. How many summers did I spend setting up Barbie’s camper and pretending they were on adventures in far off lands like VA Beach and Ocean City, MD?  How many times did I dip Barbie’s toes into the pool and put her hair in braids due to the sweltering heat of our basement? How many wardrobe changes did Barbie have to make in the span of one afternoon to keep up with all her summer activities? Lifeguard duties. Cruise in the ‘vette. Tennis, anyone? Night out on the town with Ken. Square dancing under the stars. Party back at the Dream House. And, she did it all on tippy toes.

Enjoy these dog days of summer while you can. Float in the deep end, eat the hot dogs with extra relish, gorge yourself on watermelon, and immerse yourself in all the joys that summer brings. Hold onto your bathing suits and flip flops as long as you can, but start polishing your boots and dusting off your blazers. Fall will be here before you know it, and I will be grateful for some cooler temps…and a breeze, please.

About the Author: Lori is a local writer, painter and pet lover who loves to share her experiences and expertise with our readers. She has been penning a column for the OTC for over 20 years. Please follow Lori online on Medium for more missives like this.

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