Please. Don’t come any closer.

Here it is, a hot, sunny morning heralding the arrival of August. There’s a full month ahead of dog days and warm nights, of heat lightning and shimmering highways, of ice cream cones and lemonade. It’s a sweet, lazy time. But I’m not stoopid, I know what’s coming. And so do you.

At the end of this fine month, the kiddies will return merrily to school, much like the swallows to Capistrano. But in brand new shoes, carrying brand new backpacks stuffed with brand new pencils and stiff, spotless notebooks. The grown-ups will start stockpiling vacation days for the holiday season. Pools will close, lawn furniture will get dragged into garages, backyard grills will fall into disuse, and we’ll turn on lights a little earlier each evening. The world and everything in it will grow quieter.

Winter is coming.

The season that is, always and forever, my nemesis. I resent every nostril-freezing, apple-cheeked, bone chilling, teeth-chattering, ice-coated second of it. What, I wonder, have I done to deserve this? Shouldn’t I remember a transgression so flagrant as to merit this? There are swindlers and cheaters and villains of all stripes happily ensconced on tropical islands in every corner of the world. Why aren’t they sinking up to their knees in cold, wet snow four months a year? Why aren’t they scraping ice and shoveling snow in brutal, windy, below zero weather? Better yet, why am I? Really, why?

Okay, between summer and winter there is Autumn. Or, as I refer to it, the Pre-Party to Hell Freezing Over. The fall leaves are, oooh. Bonfires, yippee. Hot cider and tailgate parties, big whoop. Lest we forget, there’s also raking billions and billions of those gloriously colorful leaves. And the ensuing blisters, tall and tight as bubble wrap, between millions of thumbs and forefingers. Plus, endless damp, blustery, gray days that end only after the first debilitating snow dump, usually before Thanksgiving.

From mid-November (sometimes October) until mid-March (sometimes April) you wouldn’t recognize your own mother outdoors. She, and everyone else, turned into the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Dear old mom is buried under twenty pounds of heavy woolly coat and sweaters and scarves, hats and mufflers and boots, gloves and ear muffs and socks upon socks. Even if you did spot her and chirped, “Hi, Mom!”, she wouldn’t hear you. She wouldn’t hear an air horn.

This delight, this wintertime gaiety, awaits. I know it’s only August, but I can already feel it lurking, lying in wait, gleefully pernicious. I dread it more than public speaking, more than public speaking naked in a party hat in town square, more than anything I can think of. I yearn for a bus ticket to the Equator.

I have to remind myself, this, right now, is August. There’s still some summer left. I open the windows wide, I throw off the covers, put on my flip-flops, grab a brain-freezing iced tea, crank the tunes, and sing along — loud and off-key. I’ll wring every last drop of summer bliss from these remaining days in the hope they’ll warm me when I look back from the bleak, dreary perspectives of January and February. We all should.

Hell, it’s cheaper than turning up the heat, right?

Copyright © Publikworks 2011.

14 responses to “Please. Don’t come any closer.”

  1. We have been in DC for the week and all our friends from up here warned us of the horrible heat and humidity. Its been a vacation wonderland! Like Lenore above, we are from GA, but a little lower. DC may be hot, but the air does not suck the breath right out of your lungs, nor are we wearing it as a second skin. Going back is going to be harder than just ending the vacation! – I cannot imagine the icy fingers of winter than you suffer through – a quilt, hot chocolate and a book sounds like an excellent way to bear it out!


    1. Hi, halfcnote! The DC / Baltimore area has a reputation for high humidity. You lucked out. The weather had to be such a welcome surprise and I hope the rest of your vacation has been as awesome. For myself, I’m busy trying not to think about what the coming months will bring. And wishing I was moving to Georgia. Have a great trip home and thanks for coming by.


  2. angelvalleywed Avatar

    Not much in the humidity department here in the Austin area, I’m pleased to report, yet don’t ever fall for the “It’s a dry heat” routine. 107 degrees is 107 degrees is 107 degrees, no matter how you try to dress it up. Still, give me heat stroke over piles of car-exhaust blackened snow (I’m from Indiana originally, so yes I relate) any day. Love your blog, by the way. Thanks for the giggles.


    1. Why, thank you, angelvalleywed. That’s a terrific description.


  3. Hi publikworks. I found you through a comment you made to MaryPoppinsS.
    Winter is drawing to a close here. The days are slowly getting longer, but I like winter, the extra clothing disguises extra padding and unshaved bits and pieces, the dark days encourage candlelight (so flattering darling), cold nights mean open fires, cats on the knee, early nights snuggled under lots of blankets…
    But I don’t like too much cold. Snow is pretty, but inconvenient – and COLD (and wet!)
    There has to be SOMEWHERE in the world where they get a nice mix of mediumish weather – if I find out where it is – I’ll let you know :-)
    I look forward to keeping in touch with you.


    1. I’m so glad you found me, isn’t Cradle Rocking great? You make winter sound so cozy, janetnz. Please do let me know if you find utopia; I think I’d like to live where the seasons go from spring to summer to fall and back to spring again. How’s that with you? Let’s get together again soon.


  4. My favourite season is autumn and always will be.

    Spring is nice, but my dog tracks in so much mud from the back yard, I supposed I don’t fully appreciate the moment. I hate heat, so summer is not my all-time favourite. I live in Canada and so I actually don’t mind winter. Not when your nostrils stick together when you breathe, but when the snow is gently falling in huge flakes that linger on your eyelashes for the briefest of moments. One of my favourite days of the year is the morning you wake up to the first snowfall. It rarely lasts, but when the sun hits the snow and sparkles like little diamonds everywhere everything seems magical — like anything wonderful could happen that day.

    Enjoy the rest of your summer.


    1. I’ll give you that, new fallen snow certainly is pretty. But here, in Illinois, it’s filthy after the second day. Then it turns into slush and freezes. That doesn’t happen up there, does it? It probably just stays snow. I love your description, though, writerwannabe.


  5. Just. yesterday. I mourned the imminent approach of August to mum, remarking that I could FEEL and SMELL autumn encroaching, and how acutely I was dreading it- not to mention winter! You owe me rent, for being in my head. Heh.

    I am solidly with you on every last salient point you wrote. This was a post of stone veracity. Now more than ever, I am chuffed to say I’m not only a commenter here, I’m a subscriber.

    We should just hibernate like bears, than endure sheer hell for what amounts to nine months out of the year. Holidaze/Snowmageddon survival prep starts September 1st, at my place. Makes me want to bludgeon people with their tacky decorations just thinking ahead to the inevitable. Ugh.


    1. From November to March I’m a virtual recluse. I only go outdoors for food three or four times a month. Otherwise you’ll find me in an overstuffed chair with quilts and a book. I’m okay until the holidays, after that, no. Hibernation it is, my little friend. And I’m just as chuffed to have you as a subscriber, MPS.


  6. I try hard to enjoy the summer while it is here – if only the longer daylight hours. But I’ll take the cold temps and layering of clothes over smog filled skies, air quality alerts and high humidity.

    Though really – the extreme of any season is the icky part. Approach slowly, Winter… we still have daylight to enjoy.


    1. Hi, lenorediane, you aren’t alone. I have a couple friends who love winter — snowmobiling, cross country skiing, polar bear club — and tolerate summer. Not me. As soon as it gets below 80º, I run for a sweater — I am a sissy. What part of the country do you live in?


      1. We live in N. Georgia., NW of Atlanta. As it has been throughout the US, the summer has been quite hot. Quite hot. Honestly, it isn’t the heat – it truly is the humidity. That friggin frackin’ humidity.


        1. Oh how I love Atlanta, my favorite city in the south. Well, it’s tied with Richmond. Who am I kidding? I love the whole South, every inch, and you’re right, it is humid. Even in winter.


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