Autumn junkie liking summer

“The castle grounds were gleaming in the sunlight as though freshly painted; the cloudless sky smiled at itself in the smoothly sparkling lake, the satin-green lawns rippled occasionally in a gentle breeze: June had arrived.” —J.K. Rowling, “Harry Potter”

Greek mythology says the four seasons came to be because of a mother’s grief (and persistence.) Demeter was the goddess of the harvest, the wife of Zeus. Their daughter, Persphone, one day wandered too far from her mother while picking flowers. Hades, the god of the underworld and brother to Zeus, deciding Persephone should be his, kidnapped her, took her to the underworld and forced her to be his queen. Demeter, grief-stricken after her daughter went missing, went into a deep depression, which affected every living thing on earth. Her sadness caused a year-long famine, with no end in sight, persuading Zeus to strike a deal with his brother. Persephone would live six months with Hades and six months back with her mother.

Persephone spent spring and summer with her mother when the harvest and all life would bloom and grow from Demeter’s happiness. In the fall and winter, everything would go dormant and die because of the sadness her mother felt over her absence.

As seasons go, I am a fall person. I always have been and assumed I always would be. Cinnamon and nutmeg are too important to me to allow my taste buds wander off into second rate fruit snow cone territory.

But here we are in June, and lately I sense a small but steadily growing “but.”

I melt around autumn color, but it turns out my catulpa tree is most beautiful right now, in late spring.

I worship spicy candles and hot peppermint tea in front of a fireplace, but lemon geraniums and fresh cilantro refill my soul and somehow just make the air feel lighter.

I remember bits and pieces of summer as a child. My memories vary from the feeling of the window air conditioner smell wafting around me as I watched Bugs Bunny and walking the few blocks from our house to the ball diamond to watch the games with sunflower seeds and candy wax bottles in hand.

I liked summer—I still do like summer, but I don’t think I have ever loved it. I don’t wait impatiently for it to arrive like I do fall. And by mid-July, I’m generally over it, wishing hard for a single independently minded leaf anywhere in eyeshot to begin fading into the slightest hue of orange.

All this said, I feel differently this year. I’m honestly digging this almost-summer thing. Hot is not my favorite temperature and I handle it less elegantly year by year. I turn beat red, I get head­aches, my fingers swell. It’s a genetic thing. Pleasant.

But here’s that “but” again. I’m still kinda into it. Maybe I’m just opening my eyes to what’s happening instead of what’s going to happen. The leaves will drop, but not yet.

Right now, that aforementioned catulpa tree is full and green and gorgeous. Hollyhocks are bursting by the minute, rabbit families are entertaining daily and there’s a shady spot with my name on it where I can simultaneously watch a swim meet and read for hours in a row.

Summer, you have my attention. I know fall will come and that makes me happy because I love me some pumpkin. But Demeter is living in a corner of my mind. I carry my own apprehension about the end of these current pair of seasons.

Summer will fade and my own daughter will go away to college. The beginning of my favorite time of year will now be shared with this giant, new step. I dread it. I’m excited for it. I feel… like a mom, I suppose.

But today, it’s still spring-almost-summer.

Demeter had to find a way to balance it all. The circle goes on—spring to summer to fall to winter. And then again and again. It has to be about finding the best parts of the season we’re in. If she can do it, I can do it.