The end of summer in Upstate New York is always a bittersweet affair. It’s alternately hot then cold. And when it’s hot we complain bitterly about the heat and the humidity and slouch in our chairs on the porch and weakly wave paper fans on sticks gotten from the Methodist Church on a sultry summer evening years before. And when it’s cold we complain bitterly about the cold and damp and wear sweaters and stomp around and swear because we just know the sweet corn season will be ruined. There is no happy medium.
I’ve taken to savoring whatever the weather brings this time of year because life’s too short to complain. When it’s sticky hot out I feel the sweat run down my face and get all live-in-the-moment about the consequences of the humidity. I listen to the late-summer cicadas buzzing away in the treetops and the sounds of neighbors mowing their lawns and wonder why someone would pick the hottest part of the hottest day to push a mower around. If I can muster the energy I walk around the yard and think about all the things I should be doing like watering thirsty plants and plucking spent blossoms from flowers but I usually put all those activities off because it’s too hot. I generally find myself siting at the slightly mossy picnic table placed under the old maple in the backyard and flip through the pages of a magazine while the dog lies in the shade of the tree, head on his crossed paws, eyes trained on me.
Soon the cool days will out-number the hot ones and those moments of sitting at the mossy picnic table will be few and far between. The sweet corn will be a lost-food memory and there will be no more sounds of lawns being mowed. Instead, if you listen carefully, you’ll hear the scrape scrape scrape of rakes moving leaves into piles.