So long, summer

autumn leaves

Coming soon to a lawn near you.

By Martin Daley

Ironically, as I sit down to write about how great this part of the country is for having four seasons, there's a hurricane spinning out there with the Northeast in her cross hairs. C'est la vie.

When the warm weather arrives in Albany it seems like it's taken YEARS to get here, so each year, as summer approaches, I promise to have more BBQs, see more crap films at the drive-in, and make more road trips to the mountains. But it's the end of the summer, and, as is often the case, I'm left with more than a few regrets.

I didn't do half the things I promised myself that I'd get accomplished this summer. No drive-in, no camping, no Park Playhouse, barely a BBQ or picnic in Washington Park.
Sure, there were a couple trips to the beach, and some lazy summer nights in the hammock, but no Alive at Five for me. No bike rides along the Mohawk. My kayak still hangs in the basement untouched. My mountain bike may rust from want of use.

I'm a little disappointed in myself.

Perhaps it's the recent influx of loud college "kids" on my block that spurred my regret, making me realize how little summer is left. Maybe it's the stack of receipts from the track for bad bets on slow horses. But I'm realizing how little summer is left, and I'm a little bummed. I think it's a feeling other North-easterners understand. Summer seems short here and there's just a little time left to savor it.

It's easy to beat this place up because summer seems so fleeting, but here's the thing:
the feeling will pass.

Even as I'm lamenting the end of summer, as the season slowly wears down and cooler weather sneaks in I find myself getting more and more excited about fall. Autumn is most definitively my favorite season in Upstate New York. I love the fairs, festivals, cooler weather, colorful trees, and the gentle descent into winter. I'm already anticipating Halloween parties, trips up to places like Burlington and Lake Placid to take in the foliage and scenes of harvest time. Yep, there's little time to mourn for my less-than-adequately-spent summer. Seasons change too fast here. In November I'll probably be bummed about the fall passing me by, but I'll be too busy waxing my skis to notice for very long.

Just think how lucky we are to have such diverse seasons tickle our senses and imagination. Sure, it's tough to jam pack all those 'wish list' activities into any one season, but Northeast living makes me really appreciate the clear, sunny summer days. It also forces me to find things to do on the inevitable rainy, sleeting, dreary days of the shoulder seasons when I can't ski or go to the beach.

I know that just the thought of the dreary grey days of winter can bum out a lot of people. It's hard to get excited about sleet and freezing rain. They make it easy to forget why we live here. But just look out the window NOW ---umm, well, maybe not now, but on Monday-- and remember that you've got to live in the moment before this summer passes.

Enjoy the rest of summer while you can (and I'll see you after Irene!)

Martin has a great -- and very appropriate -- username on Twitter: daleyplanit.

Martin on the Soapbox:
+A dog's life in the Capital Region
+ The one-car household: a car junkie cuts back
+ The Lark Tavern: Where everybody knew your name
+ Of government and chickens
+ Loving -- and hating -- the Empire State Plaza
+ An urban planner grows in Albany


I have been feeling the same way - disappointed in myself for not making the most of every second of sunny, summer weather this year. I didn't do nearly enough kayaking, didn't go camping, missed all of the summer events in Albany.

But then I start thinking about how I intend to take better advantage of the winter this year. Maybe learn to snowshoe or cross-country ski. Our 'full' four seasons and geography provide us with many more options than other parts of the country.

I don't mean to echo everything you've already written - I just agree with it all! Looking forward to the things that can only be done in the fall and winter and so on... and next summer hopefully I'll practice better time management to fit in more stuff! :)

Well said.

I'm more of a fall girl myself, though, so I'll take the Carpe Diem charge sans seasonal ties. Thanks to our full four, I'm looking forward to trekking out through the fall foliage in cool nights and cool mornings into mild days without summer's humidity.

Once the flood waters recede, of course.

I also echo this sentiment. This summer, despite it being one of the loveliest I can remember, I did no boating, camping or hiking. I made it to Alive @ 5 once. I went to Grafton once. No road trips, no cabins, no exploring.

That being said, I did enjoy many lovely nights on my porch reading. I've had several BBQ's and enjoyed the company of friends on my patio, next to my beautiful garden. I grew tomatoes and herbs, I dined al fresco.

I guess I have to remember what I did do, more than I should focus on what I didn't. And I do really look forward to all the wonderful things coming up in the next two months. While it may be a bittersweet time, it's one of my favorites. :)

I'm with Summer on this one. Instead of lamenting what we didn't do, let's be proud of what we DID do. And, as you say, summer isn't over.

SO TRUE Martin and Summer! I make a list at the beginning of June and then I am happy if I do one thing on it. BUT-Summer is not meant to be planned. So this year I was surprised by Asha and her pool, the play at WP, and yes the earthquake and the hurricane! In between there was the usual tomatos and corn, estate sales and reading, etc. There is something called Summer Seasonal Disorder ( opposite of Winter SAD) which is when you realize summer is about to end and you get depressed that you have to wait another 10 months for it to come back around. Enjoy the last weekend!

I didn't do everything on my list either. But I'm looking forward to easing my sadness over a pile of cider donuts...

I have to remind myself that summertime isn't always about DOING stuff. Sometimes it's those lazy, hazy afternoons that make it all the more awesome.

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