The End of Summer

Most students are back at school. I still can’t believe it. Starting mid August it seems kids head back with clean clothes, new backpacks, and tidy sneakers. Over the last two weeks before Labor Day, streets generally empty of kids riding their bikes.

And then the heat begins. It never seems to fail. The really hot, humid summer days start and last into mid September. Classrooms roast and those inside ruminate about how unfair life is.

I’ve completed my annual check list of three things I do every summer: one or more outdoor concert, one or more ballgame and one swim outdoors (this year I tried the community pool at Foster Pool in Lakewood).

Foster Pool Lakewood

Foster Pool Lakewood

Leaves are starting to turn colors but mostly at this time due to dryness or disease. True fall colors don’t begin around NE Ohio until later in October. There is a feeling that you’d better soak in those last rays of sun, go for that last hot summer hike or bike ride, and attend to that last fair, festival, or food truck before the holiday that ends summer.

At Lakeview Cemetery

At Lakeview Cemetery

With that in mind, we have been on our annual Take a Hike! Tour around Playhouse Square and walked  an Art Deco tour through Lakeview Cemetery. We’ve checked out a few new places to eat (Grovewood,  Luxe, and Ken Stewart’s East Bank, listened to music at the new Music Box, and watched racers on the Cleveland Velodrome.

I’ve started to buy Octoberfest ales. I’ve noticed Halloween candy on sale at the drug store. I’m looking into the details of those friendlier season trips in September (to California) and October (New England).

When I retired the end of summer meant getting ready for a new year of teaching and fresh crop of students. I missed all that terribly for the first two years. Now my world has slowly evolved into the change of volunteer seasons. September brings the slow down of Cuyahoga Valley National Park opportunities and build up of ushering at Playhouse Square. The thought of going back to teaching gives me the jitters.

At the same time the end of summer is exciting for the start of routines and meaningful work but it means the shortening of days, the crescendo of cooler nights into frigid days and the time when we all hunker down. The end of summer is bittersweet.