And so fall arrives. We've enjoyed some great very warm weather interspersed with the storms one gets with warm weather and I have enjoyed it. High humidity? Great! I love it because it makes my hair all large. No jackets, cute little shoes, windows open at night -- all the lovely benefit of a surprising longer summer.
Then summer admits it's stayed too long, tooooo long, waaaaaay too long and bye. Summer flees without a goodbye and we get the glorious cooler weather of autumn. Fall in the midwest with the painted trees and the dazzling puffy clouds that make their way to somewhere that's not here, a cumulus nimbus march of the seasons.
Winter hovers, friends, with its need for a warm coat, a hat, gloves/mittens, a scarf, thick socks, boots with a lot of tread, long-sleeved garments, thicker-weight pants, and, for the truly frozen among us, long underwear. Crack out the walking sticks if you have 'em! (Yes, I have 'em and I use 'em. Mostly they seem to be useful for getting seats on the bus at rush hour but I'm down with that.) We all must tread carefully because people are a little shy about tossing down salt and/or shoveling their walks.
There was a period of a few years when I worked second shift and didn't mind winter. I had friends who liked winter and we'd go for interesting walks on quiet streets at our 9 p.m. meal break, the nights sharp with cold and the skies clear. Even in the city we could make out the Belt of Orion and the Big Dipper. It felt peaceful and life-affirming and almost serene. There was not much traffic on my way there and none on the way back. It was easier to get around, even if there were major storms or the temperatures dipped well below 0º Farenheit. Winter offered less crime when I went home from work and gave me the chance to look for Orion's feet.
My second shift job went away to the distant suburbs and as I am not a long-distance commuter, I got a day job downtown. There are always others to deal with on public transportation, there is always traffic if you drive, there are daily challenges just going from one's house and coming back there. Winter adds to the aggravation in the form of idiot drivers, angry motormen, delayed trains, and soggy commuters jammed into a small spot, all smelling like soggy animals. There were never constellations waiting to be seen and there still aren't. On occasion, there's a sliver of the moon or maybe Venus with a soft blaze. Or is it a plane?
I am now firm in the I-hate-winter mindset. Once late October comes, a hair dryer comes out and we twirl into the Months of Skank, when my hair looks ghastly and straight and lifeless. Jam a hat onto it and there's almost no chance of looking like anything other than another middle-aged lady trying to get through the week without smacking the crap out of someone. Winter hangs on for months and boots with tread never leave my feet during the day. Snow falls and sticks to every surface and it takes longer to walk to the bus and home from it. I think of the next step, and the next, and getting home without landing on the ground. I don't mind when it's supercold and there's no snow. It might be cold -- nose-hair freezing, frostbitingly cold -- yet there's less of a chance of slam-dancing the earth.
Don't think I like summer because I really don't. I am not a fan of small shirts and shorts and heat (although the humidity makes my hair all sorts of awesome). Fall is a beautiful relief from the throes of great heat but I love neither coat nor hat nor gloves nor scarf nor boots nor thick socks. I am a great fan of me and my handbag alone together, walking to the bus stop, walking home from the bus stop, and if summer is the price to pay for it, then oh well, I guess I'll crack my emotional wallet, even if summer is a heartless son of a bitch.