I’ve always loved the title of Joan Didion’s essay, Goodbye to All That, which pays homage to New York, the city, her love for it, but the need to leave it behind. Her love affair with New York begins as most love affairs do—with awe and passion and all-encompassing rapture; however, the city ends up burdening and exhausting her as a writer with its frenetic pace and way of life.
It’s quite the opposite for me when considering the ideals of the summer season. Summer rolls in mid-year with its sunshine, flowers, humidity, warmth, relaxing tendencies, and languid days. And while I keep myself busy in the summer, its pace these last couple of years has been nothing short of wonderful.
And now it’s September and cooler (unusually so, especially today). Pumpkin spice coffees and sunflowers are already making appearances on Facebook and Instagram, and not to rush the season, I actually got suckered into purchasing a pair of velvet booties (velvet is a hot trend this fall/winter season).
So now it’s time to say farewell to the summer days that offer us few cares and worries. My son’s senior year of high school begins this Wednesday, as well as my daughter’s sophomore year. It seems like just yesterday they were running through the sprinklers in their bathing suits out on the front lawn of our Ellicott City home—carefree, spirited, and wide-eyed with wonder. Now they are two teenage people with jobs, school, and extra-curricular activities. Time has marched on, as it always does, and we’ve all grown older.
But Summer, dear, sweet Summer, it’s difficult to let go of you. You cast your spell on us and allow us to be young and free-spirited for a while; you harken back to those carefree days when I watched my children play and the days seemed endless. You give us the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company without deadlines and appointments and commitments. I wish you could stay, Summer, but I understand that you cannot.
So, I’m afraid I have to say it, although it breaks my heart: Goodbye to all that.
Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.