The air is crisp and cool, the sky streaked with low, scuttling, ragged clouds, heading out of town in a hurry, like seasonal tourists. In quiet moments you can hear a crow. Somewhere in your immediate surroundings, should you care to look for it, is a spiderweb. They’re everywhere right now, spiders that is to say, busying themselves, killing and eating and mating and spawning before they die. Summer is ending. It’s time to convince yourself you like fall for a few weeks. Go ahead.
“I like fall,” you say, shivering ever so slightly; you have not unpacked your sweaters yet, but now you will, prompted by the low background soreness of a body that had forgotten, over those brief, bright months of joy and abundance, the need to vibrate itself at all times in order to ward off death. “It’s good. I am not actually mourning for warmth and light and happiness at all. I look forward to the grim retreat of all life. Gladly I trade late afternoon sunshine for the smell of mulling spices.” That’s the spirit. Why, you can almost bring yourself to say that you missed autumn, without sobbing partway through this hilarious lie.
“No, really, fall is good,” you insist. “The fall colors. I love them.” Yes. That is the ticket. Now you are really into this September charade. You love the autumn. That is why, at 4:30 p.m. every afternoon during the peak of summer, you retired to sit on a block of ice in a darkened room until bedtime: to simulate the season you missed so much. Because you love fall. In fact, it is your favorite season! This routine is not at all a flimsy, transparent coping mechanism to get you through the first part of the six months of bleak dark hell before the sun returns your will to live.
Who needs birds, flowers, the color green? Not you. Likewise swimming pools and loose, light clothing and warm sand and dappled shade, the hiss of soft leaves in a breeze, the outdoors, heat, fresh fruit, water parks, cookouts, towering afternoon thunderstorms. Warm nights. Walking barefoot. Eating dinner on a patio after sundown dressed in less than a spacesuit. To hell with all that. It’s fall now! And you know what that means: The city will smell a little bit less like urine sometimes. This is what it’s all about, what makes one season better than the others. In October, when you walk out of work into midnight darkness, having missed literally every minute of the day’s wan, directionless sunlight, covered in all the clothing ever made, “I’m glad it’s like this, and not warm and bright and bursting with life,” definitely is what you will think to yourself, from inside your cocoon.
“I like sweater season,” you say. “It’s good to have to bring extra clothing everywhere, to insert extra survivalism steps between the decision to leave home and the act of doing so. What I want out of life is the need to shroud myself against the biting cold.” I believe the hell out of you! Especially because of all the time you spent standing in front of the open freezer this past July, because you so badly wanted a reason to wear a sweater, and resented summer’s warmth for taking it from you.
When a weekend of unseasonable heat arrives later this month or next, you definitely will not get out and enjoy this last outbreak of summer; you definitely will not think to take a walk in a park, or go shoot some hoops on a blacktop court, or have a picnic in the warm sunshine, or invite everybody over for a cookout. You will sit inside and sulk, for sure, at this intrusion upon the season you like so much. Because you definitely love fall. It’s the season you love the most, and that’s the fuckin’ truth.