It’s not really, not yet. New Yorkers always forget that despite the return of plaids, closed-toe shoes and an annual attempt at hats that September is really one more summer month. They only re-remember this fact sometime around September 20th when it’s eighty-seven degrees and all of their fancier t-shirts have been put in storage.
Just two months ago: every night after putting the kids to sleep, Scott and I would sit on our Brooklyn balcony, enjoying the natural smells of all the plants crammed into the small space, put our bare feet on the tiles still warm from absorbing the sun’s rays for the day, and read until it finally became too dark—about nine o’clock.
Now it’s too dark at eight.
The shadows come up creepily, elegantly, from the corners, not all at once in a scrim as they do in summer. The leaves of the trees and bushes answer back, darkening to a dry, deep green. They make more noise as the wind ruffles them. Cloudy afternoons are less depressing and more invigorating; the temperature has dropped. Suddenly thoughts of a last marathon trip to the Rockaways or sunning in the park have disappeared, replaced with the fetching idea of a long afternoon in a coffeebar, watching people come and go.
The wild grass I stop weeding out of my pots at the beginning of August for precisely the purpose of going to seed has done so, and we watch sparrows and finches acting like natural birds, posing delicately on the sturdier stalks and nibbling the heads—not cramming their gullets with French fries, their usual fare.
And even in Brooklyn, the scream of a bluejay pierces, taking me instantly back to fall growing up in New England.
Yes, yes, winter is coming. But not yet.
In my world of halvsies, half writer, half mom, half young, half old, half Yankee, half Brooklynite, fall is not a half, inbetween term: it has always been its own season, a decisive beginning of the year. The school calendar and Rosh Hoshanah only confirm it.
So keep your t-shirts out, but plan what you’re going to be for Halloween. It’s time for the serious work to begin.