The Last Gasp of Summer*

It was a much-publicized glorious weekend here in Calgary. For more than a week, weather forecasts had promised warm end-of-summer days and it was all anyone could talk about – strangers, friends, the newspaper. ‘It’s supposed to be twenty eight next week,’ someone seemed to marvel at least once a day.

And finally, just when I’d begun to despair that it had all been a lie, the much-touted hot weather arrived. [And, in the same breath, a forecast for another ‘brutal’ winter. Lest we were tempted to delude ourselves that winter might stay away this year.]

The problem with these beautiful forecasts is that they create a lot of pressure: to get outside, to soak up every single minute of lovely weather, to squeeze in every summery activity just one last time. Because to do anything else – errands, cleaning a hovel-like home, cooking, writing mundanities for a blog – is sacrilege.

[Or, should I say, to confess to doing anything else  is sacrilege.]

Because Fall in Calgary is beautiful, but fleeting.

Exhibit A:

On Wednesday, I sat outside on my deck and looked up at the blue sky above me. ‘That tree is stunning,’ I stared at our somethingorother tree’s bright yellow leaves. I ran inside to get my camera and snapped a picture.

Seventy-two hours later, that same glowing tree…..looked like a sewer rat.

All it takes is one strong gust of wind and a couple of unusually hot (or cold) days to make Fall vanish just as quickly as it arrived; this much I’ve learned over the last three years. Last year, during ‘Fall’, I drove south on Crowchild, over the bridge – staring at the bright yellow trees along the river. It was a gorgeous scene and I vowed to return the next day to take pictures. That night, a strong wind blew away most of the leaves and by the next morning, the yellow had been replaced by bald-in-patches branches with brittle brown leaves.

You only make that mistake once.

So this year I’ve taken far too many photos of autumnal trees backlit by late afternoon sun. But these pictures will sustain me from November… May. I’m like a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter, except instead of nuts, I’m gathering images of life and beauty to tide me over when that season-that-shall-not-be-named threatens to undo me.

So, on Friday afternoon, I took the boys to Edworthy Park for a bike ride and possibly-one-last-round of throwing rocks in the river. We brought snacks and water and the boys biked with purpose and Percy actually sat in his stroller, happily (except for the last hundred yards to the pathway down to the river.)

The boys threw rocks to their hearts’ content. And, as per usual, Percy fell in the water at least twice; taking it all in relative stride. As if to say ‘this is just what I do – I fall in the water.’

When we’d expended the better part of an hour, we headed back to the car. The older boys pedalling furiously, while a diaper-only-Percy and I trailed behind. Stopping occasionally to store up images of golden sunlight and colorful leaves.

We drove to the University to pick up the professor  and headed home, stopping for a donair and cheese pocket at Little Lebanon and the-last-ice-cream-cones-of-2011 at McDonald’s.

One gorgeous day down, two more to go.

Saturday was supposed to be even better so we tapped our fun-reserves and headed to Fish Creek Park. For more bike riding. And more rock-throwing. And the last-frappuccino-of-2011. And a stop at the playground. And the professor’s [almost] last outdoor soccer game. And an end-of-summer-backyard-party.

When we finally got home that evening, I was exhausted. Our house looked like a war-zone. The dirty laundry was spilling out of its receptacles. [Plural]. We had no groceries.

And I still had one more fine-weather-day to conquer: Sunday….

*Credit to the professor for the title. I stole it from his Facebook status. Err Facebook  ‘story’.

4 thoughts on “The Last Gasp of Summer*

  1. Great memories have been made and laundry eventually gets done – the boys will remember the fun times at the river and not whether they had clean clothes. 🙂 Glad you had a great weekend.

  2. Twana, the Hen hasn’t been able to wear his favorite pirate shirt for a while now, so he’s pretty sad about that! Jaqui, hope you managed to escape winter with your vitamin D levels intact.


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