When I commuted on the Long Island Rail Road from Penn to Speonk on the 5:51 evening train, summer did not last as long as the calendar said it did. Getting off my train at 7:55 PM, the darkness began to greet me even in the second week of August.
It never failed to usher in a feeling of remorse, of loss.
Another summer was coming to an end and, with it, long days and warm weather with weekends spent on Ponquogue Beach.
The funny thing is that the best time of year to be living in the Hamptons was in the weeks after Labor Day. The crowds had thinned out, the train was less crowded, and the weather was still beautiful.
Even weeks after we stood and applauded the lifeguards on Labor Day in gratitude for their diligent and vigilant service to Southampton Town beachgoers, the beaches were beautiful, and the water was still warm. But the absence of the lifeguards only emphasized the dying of the summer and the arrival of autumn.
Still, autumn weather was much appreciated after a season of heat and humidity, and there were festivals and farmers markets not to mention the department stores reminding us that Christmas was only ninety days away.
Now, as I living in Florida, the end of summer is not so keenly experienced. It is getting darker earlier. It is also getting lighter later. But warm temperatures still persist and a day when the temperature only reaches the 80’s may inspire you to get sweatshirts and jeans ready for the cold days sure to come.
Fortunately, the cold days may start with temperatures in the 40s but rarely fail to reach the high 50s or 60’s. Still, it is cool enough to bring out the pumpkin ale.
Still, the sense of loss persists. A different type of loss but poignant nonetheless.
I should be calling my wood guy to get a cord of wood for the winter, and you could be sure that the first chilly weekend we had a fire would be started and enjoyed with one of those pumpkin ales.
No need to do so when you don’t have or need a fireplace.
But I’ll be wearing jeans and socks and even a sweatshirt before you know it.