Talk about the weather

Sunflowers, Frazer Park. 17 August 2021. Minolta Freedom Tele/Kodak Ultramax 400

It’s the last day of August. For many, this means “the end of summer”, though in the US we typically consider Labor Day Weekend as the season-ender. Soon the long, warm days will be a memory. The sun is setting sooner, now it’s going down about a hour and a quarter than on Summer Solstice. Cooler weather is ahead.

One of my friends posted on their Instagram feed their ranking of months. August came in last, tied with July and January. Hatred of summer is a thing anywhere, no doubt, but it seems like Portland breeds this feeling. And I don’t get it.1 Our summers typically are pretty nice in comparison to the rest of the US, not super-hot like the South/Southwest, not humid like the East. Yes, because of climate change the summers have become hotter and wildfires rage nearby. But after the stupid-hot heat in June the temps have remained relatively stable, and we haven’t seen the unhealthy smoky air of last year. (Smoke that came in September, mind you, a month that Instagram post placed in the middle rankings.)2

Summer has always been a favorite time for me. I’ve loved it since I was a little kid. Summer meant reading stacks of books from the library, going to the beach, and no school. And my birthday is in August, a perfect time. I remember being positively enraptured with summer when I moved to Portland twenty years ago–no humidity, so little need for AC. (Having a fan is still a wise idea.) The sun sets so late, the skies are so blue. The perfection of a Portland summer has dwindled over the years, with more heat and fires, but it’s still there, somewhere.

It’s always a bit bittersweet for me when summer ends. But I don’t want to be one of those people who are always wishing to be in a different season, always complaining about the weather now and hoping for the weather in the future. Then that future arrives, they complain about that weather. I want to appreciate each season in turn, and appreciate them for what they are.

And thankfully I do like fall a lot. It’s not as spectacular as New England (one of the things I miss about that corner of the world) but it’s better than hoped. It doesn’t hurt that since my student days are in the past, I don’t have the dread of starting another school year over my head. But September can be a great month around these parts, so long as it’s not too smoky. I hope to get in another bike camping trip or three before it gets too cold/wet/dark.

Hope your September is a good one!

1 OK, I get it a little bit: some people do move here for the rainy/damp/cool weather that happens for half the year. They conveinently forget about the other half until it happens.

2 Also worth noting that the other time in recent memory where smoke blotted the sky happened also in September with the Eagle Creek Fire in 2017.

4 thoughts on “Talk about the weather

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      1. Wow, 10pm! Imagine all the things you could do! In Prague, three years ago, the sun set a little past 9pm and left behind this ridiculously beautiful shade of royal blue, we just stood in awe for at least fifteen minutes watching it. I mean nothing really beats summer skies, before or after sunset.

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