October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came,—
The Ashes, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The sunshine spread a carpet,
And every thing was grand;
Miss Weather led the dancing;
Professor Wind, the band....
The sight was like a rainbow
New-fallen from the sky....
~George Cooper, "October's Party"
I suffer from Sesonal Affective Disorder. Ever heard of it? The Mayo clinic defines it as "a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. If you're like most people with seasonal affective disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, seasonal affective disorder causes depression in the spring or early summer." I fall into the "less often" category. The fact is I dislike summer intensely. I wouldn't define how I feel as depression as much as resentment. Let me explain why I hate summer, but I adore Fall and Winter!
I grew up for the first eight years in Philadelphia. I lived in Florida for four and then we moved to Arizona. I have lived in Arizona for 32 years minus five (college in Boston and a brief 2 years in Chicago). We moved here in July and from day one I have hated the heat and intense sun. That first summer, and every summer since, I slip into a hibernation mode. I hide inside all day and only come out in the evening. I guess I have always been a night owl, but this quality intensifies every year when the days get longer and the nights get shorter.
"Why don't you just move?" some have asked. I did. For almost eight years I lived in the northern part of Arizona and commuted 101 miles each way to work every day just so I could enjoy rain and snow. If gas prices hadn't become such an issue I would most likely still be commuting. My other strategy is to travel all summer, simply getting out of Arizona for cooler cities. But, alas, my son was young and my family is here so traveling for several months wasn't so easy. Thank goodness, summer only lasts five months around here and temperate, more reasonable conditions, return.
However, this summer was the hottest summer on record in Arizona. We had the most triple-digit days consecutively since we began keeping records. Scientists and environmentalists say it is because of cement and blacktop retaining heat and reflecting it back during the evening hours. I would agree that is an issue since I can feel the heat through the bottom of my shoes and radiating up into my car from the road as I drive. This was the year I said, "enough!"
Buying land in Oregon has become so important to me because I don't want to continue to live in such hot conditions. I resent summer with its long days, intense sun, and lack of rain. I hate that in the morning I drive into the glaring sun on my way to work and do the same on the way home. I hate the headaches the bright light triggers. I hate sweating every time I leave the house. I need, I desire, I WANT, gray days where cloud cover mutes the glare and filters the suns rays. I want to hear the rain on the roof and have gray, cool days where sweaters are required. I want to wake up to the clean, white blanket of snow covering the earth, to experience the odd quietness of snowfall. Dammit, I want WEATHER!
This week I am headed up to Seattle for fall break to visit my boyfriend. Of course I am glad to be able to see him since long distance relationships really suck, but I am also looking forward to rain. I want to see the leaves beginning to change color, feel cold wind on my cheek, to wear sweaters and light jackets, to feel a cold wind and a chill. This time of year and weather in other parts of the country mean Pumpkin Spice, sweaters, boots, hats, hot coffee, hot coco, umbrellas, and long restful nights. I want to eat hot soup and fresh break and thick stews. Oooh, ya!
Not all things about summer are bad. I know this, however I stand by my mantra: "You can always put more clothes on to stay warm, but you can only take so much off." I love you, Fall. Welcome!