The official end of summer has arrived and while I normally would be pleased that we’ve moved into autumn — it’s my favorite season — I confess that I’m just not feeling it this year.
The daily above 90 temperatures are a constant reminder that I am a long way from trading my tank-tops and T-shirts in for flannels and sweaters. It’s way too hot for a nice bonfire, I’m still drinking lemonade rather than apple cider and my yard rake is still safely stowed in the garden shed as the trees on my lawn are showing no signs of dropping their leaves anytime soon.
The grass is still growing, my flowers are still blooming and there’s still plenty of time left before I have to drain and pack away my boys’ kiddie pool for the year.
It feels like the never-ending summer, but not in a good way.
I miss the cooler temperatures and I’m tired of breaking into an instant sweat every time I step outdoors. Everything around here is a hot sticky mess and there’s not enough AC in the world. I really don’t like the heat.
Everybody loves fall.
The colors, the smells, the holidays, the food. Everything about autumn is just nice and homey and pretty. I lived in Vermont for a couple of years and it was the most beautiful place in the world come fall. People would travel there from all over the country to see our covered bridges against the stunning backdrop of turning leaves.
The town where I lived, Woodstock, was like all towns in Vermont — quaint, picturesque and nestled in a valley between mountains. It made its money from tourists: golfers in the summer, “leaf peepers” in the fall and then from the skiers come winter. Woodstock was located just 10 or so miles south of the East Coast mecca for snow skiing, Killington.
Of course, all year long there was a steady stream of people popping up to check out the Longtrail brewing company (located just outside of Woodstock) or to go antiquing. There was a ton of stuff to do up there.
Fall always makes me reminisce about my time in Vermont, especially because in Pickens County there are many similarities. Sure, the mountains are smaller and the cities are bigger, but in general the winding roads and quaint little downtown areas are quite alike.
You won’t find a payday loan place in downtown Woodstock but you would find a butcher shop, a book store, a barber shop, a hardware store and an old-fashioned candy store. If there was a pharmacy (I can’t remember now), it surely was family owned and had been there at least 50 years.
The only restaurants to be found were Mom and Pop places where you could grab a sandwich, a slice of apple pie — complete with a big chunk of a nice sharp cheddar — and a tall glass of cold milk.
For now, in Pickens County at least, I am in fall denial. It’s not autumn until the temperatures drop dramatically and remain that way during daylight hours.
I refuse to turn in my flip-flops until no less than four golden or rusty colored leaves appear on my trees and there will be no caramel apples prepared in my kitchen as long as peaches remain stubbornly in season.
The calender may say that it’s fall, but as for me, I’ll believe it when I see it.
Kasie Strickland is a staff writer for The Easley Progress and The Pickens Sentinel and can be reached at [email protected] Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.