For some reason, it only just dawned on me that every official season is exactly the same duration of three months. Summer begins on June 21 and ends on September 21, whereupon fall takes over until December 21 and so on through winter and spring, until summer rolls around again. I think it took me a while to figure this out because the real seasons rarely comply with their official start and end date. Contrary to my wish, Labour Day is the permanent proxy for the expiry date for summer. Sometimes the weather corroborates this, and sometimes not. This year, the weather is firmly short-changing the calendar’s notion of when fall arrives.
You never know when your last swimmable day is until you do. This happened yesterday, or to be more accurate the day before that, because the last swimmable day immediately precedes the first non-swimmable day, which cannot be predicted, except when you kind of can. I will admit my last swimmable day was way on the edge of approaching un-swimmable without assistance of sauna, because I descended the dock ladder and took the plunge into water that would only be swimmable to people who are immune to hypothermia.
Like everybody else, planted more of a garden than usual this summer, which is to say I planted a garden. But because I like the idea of gardening much, much more than the actual gardening, my garden looks like an abandoned field, or to be more accurate, IS an abandoned field. The lettuce fed a happy contingent of slugs, the spinach did nothing at all, and I have just harvested the world’s smallest beets. Three of them. Each no bigger than a marble. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to pull them up yet. Oh well, there’s always next year, however, next year, in a bid to preserve my own marbles, I vow to leave the farming to actual farmers.
Another thing false fall does for me is magnify the guilt resulting from the recipes I did not make this summer. Of course, pandemic-related food paranoia and a dearth of cottage guests fueled some of my kitchen cupboard conundrums, but they were only partially to blame. This time of year, my cupboard is a Pandora’s Box of aspirations that torment me with my lack of culinary compliance with its contents. There’s a can of baby clams, which I’ll admit has come back and forth for a couple of years (expiry date the end of 2021, BTW, so it has plenty of time to go back and forth again). Clam chowder for those sultry August days? Linguine with clams when nobody in their right mind would want to turn on the stove to boil water? Then there’s the jar of roasted red peppers. I am pretty sure I have it because of a recipe I clipped from Food and Drink magazine, which is nowhere to be found. Even if I had the recipe in my hands, why would I need a store-bought jar of roasted peppers when I could roast my own from the bounty of high summer? This, and many other questions about what I was thinking, could only be answered by the spring version of myself who watched the leaves emerge and saw only possibility, and went on to squander most of it lolling in the lake. A spectacular squander.