It’s hard to believe that we were sweltering through a long stretch of hot days only six weeks ago. Now we’re happy to snuggle a little deeper into the covers in the morning. The air coming through open windows is more than a little chilly.
I feel a little cheated somehow. The summer of 2019 didn’t seem quite long enough. Maybe that’s because June was more like a chilly monsoon season than a proper beginning to gardens and outdoor fun.
Now is a time for very odd juxtapositions in stores — summer-clearance merchandise languishing beside Halloween candy and the first of the Christmas decorations. I haven’t checked lately, but I’ll bet that snow boots are already on display somewhere.
I tend not to complain about the changing of the seasons and the weather in general, other than my tendency to stand outside if there’s a tornado warning in effect. First, the changing of the seasons is a natural thing. Second, there is not one blasted thing that any of us can do about it.
Just the same, I can’t muster the enthusiasm to go out and buy pumpkin-spice Everything. Pumpkin spice candles are fine if done in moderation, cloying if there is more than one or two in a house. As for pumpkin-spice lattes, those are simply non-starters at the Native’s house.
But I could go for an outside display of pumpkins sometime soon. I like to wait until the days get a little cooler. There’s nothing quite like a wilting squishy giant vegetable setting on your porch steps a full month before Halloween arrives.
The trees on Beautiful Lookout hill behind my house are still a vibrant green, but there’s just the slightest tinge of yellow and red on some of them. In a month, they will be ablaze with color, and a week or two after that, most will be bare.
I don’t intend to follow their example, so I’m spending more time shopping for warm things to wear. It’s somewhat urgent this year. I’ve lost close to 50 pounds in the past two years and am in danger of losing my britches when I trot across a downtown street.
That’s a problem I don’t mind having.
On the other hand, the winter winds might bite a little deeper this year. All that extra adipose tissue, also known as fat, offered a bit of portable insulation wherever I went. I’d rather buy a new wardrobe.
So, I could drink a pumpkin-spice latte every day if I wanted to, the calories meaningless. No thanks. I’d rather stock up on sweet potatoes, winter squash, broccoli and kale.
Now, the kale thing gave me a giggle a couple of weeks ago. This cabbage cousin has become somewhat famous over the past decade for its reputation as a super-healthy food. And yet I run into people who have never eaten it and wouldn’t recognize it if it showed up on their dinner plates.
As I was standing at a supermarket check-out, the young cashier looked puzzled and asked, “What is this stuff?”
A passing bag boy stopped and said that it was kale, and a lady came into the store a few times a week to buy some for her turtle.
“See? It’s good for you,” I said. “Look at how long turtles live.”
The young folks didn’t get the joke and probably have a tale about this dingy old lady who eats weird stuff. I’ll probably outlive them.
I’ve never tried growing a fall crop of kale myself, but I think a late crop of Asian greens might do okay in porch containers. I’m not ready to give up on growing things just because there’s Halloween candy on store shelves.
You can see my quandary here. I say that the changing of the seasons doesn’t bother me, and yet I’m plotting ways to hold Old Man Winter at bay.
I don’t feel bad about that. After all, Lady Clairol is my friend. It is much the same thing.
In closing, I’m going to miss Paul’s Pumpkin Patch out near Frogtown. I covered it for an L-V article a couple of years ago, and that was the limit of my involvement. But I always had to smile when I thought about families and kids going out for a hayride and games on the farm.
I’ve heard that another farmer out that way may be willing to pick up the pumpkin patch baton. I hope the rumor is true. I want to be the one who writes that article next year, or the year after that.
And that may be the essence of September itself. You look back on spring and summer, and then you start looking ahead to next year, and the next.
[Susan Kerr is a semi-retired freelance writer living in her hometown of New Bethlehem. Previously, she was the managing editor of a regional-interest magazine and a business journal in State College.]