That voice is in my head again. It sneaks in every August; a throbbing, melancholy voice sighing sad words about loss and change.
“All the rainbows in the sky
Start to weep and say goodbye
You won’t be seeing rainbows anymore.
“Setting suns before they fall, echo to you that’s all, that’s all
“It’s over. It’s over. It’s over.”
It’s the voice of the legendary Roy Orbison coming through the car radio. He’s singing goodbye to a girlfriend who has broken his heart by being untrue.
To Roy it’s about being jilted. To me, his 1964 operatic rock ballad is about the loss of summer. Alas, another summer is ending.
There’s still a month to go before summer officially gives way to autumn. Leaves on the trees are fading but seem in no hurry to turn to their golds, crimsons and yellows. Temperatures are above normal, even at night. The lake is still warm enough for swimming.
The calendar, however, cannot be denied. Some students are back in school already and the remainder return to classes in less than two weeks. Birds and insects are saying their goodbyes to August blooms. They know that global warming or not, temperatures will start to fall any day now …
Sorry, but summer is over.
I’m not unhappy about that. I’ve never been a summer fan. Maybe that’s because of a fair chunk of life spent in Northwestern Ontario and Northern Alberta, places where summers can be fair but often short.
That’s not to say I dislike summer or begrudge those who love it. Most people relish the sun and heat and the swimming, golfing and other outdoor pursuits.
Some are seriously affected when summer ends. They suffer Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which most often strikes people during the winter. When it occurs in summer it’s called Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Studies show that roughly 15 per cent of Canadians will experience some SAD depression in their lifetimes, most because of winter, but many because of summer’s end.
U.S.-based National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAM) regards the late summer blues as serious enough to declare September Suicide Prevention Month.
For me, there is something special about the end of summer. It is a time of beauty and plenty.
Late summer blooms, domestic and wild, put on a glorious show before wilting and waiting for the early frosts to end their year.
Fresh vegetables become abundant. Corn and tomatoes, available only in cans or shipped in from far-off places at other times of the year, are close at hand to be picked fresh.
Whether you are outside admiring the flowers, or picking corn, you can do so without the painful bother or mosquitoes and other bugs. They are not all gone yet, but they certainly are a lot less numerous than they were a month or so ago.
Summer’s end also is a time for reflection, and for planning. While thinking back on the joys of a terrific summer, it’s time to start planning for winter and it’s special joys. There is curling and hockey and skiing and skating to look forward to.
And, for many there is planning for that winter vacation that probably has been postponed for the last couple of years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There also are holidays and festivities to look forward to: Rosh Hashanah, Thanksgiving, Hallowe’en, then Christmas and New Year’s.
Sunbathing days certainly are gone, or going, but the change from summer to fall does not mean an end to comfort and warmth.
I’m looking forward to wearing my bomber jacket and feeling a fluffy wool blanket on the bed. Then there’s the comfort foods. A bowl of hot soup or warm chili.
The change of season brings change to many parts of our lives, and that’s a good thing. What we eat and what we wear changes with the season and so does how we think.
Human beings need change. Change refreshes our attitudes and allows us to replace old, worn-out thinking.
We are lucky to live in a place where Nature provides change four times a year.