Summer's Last Fling or Fall's Opening Act?
Is It Over?
It’s mid-September, and I find myself emersed in end of summer reflections and at the same time, feeling the excitement of a new season soon unfolding. But first, to be clear; I am in no hurry to kick summer out the door like a discarded lover because I prefer fall's embrace.
Autumn is a spectacular season, and I adore crackling fires, the nip of crisp air, steaming bowls of soup, and pumpkin everything. However, each season deserves its full measure and summer is short enough. We’ll know when it’s time to pull out the favorite turtleneck and crockpot, but with temps still in the 70’s and low 80’s, fall needs to wait its turn.
Lucky us in The Twin Cities we celebrate all four seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter. However, the lines between when one ends and the next begins are often blurry. I decided to take a casual survey of friends and neighbors on when it’s time let go of summer and move on.
- Labor Day weekend is the end of summer
- Summer ends when the kids go back to school
- End of the Minnesota State Fair means the end of summer
- Meteorological summer is over August 31st
- When the pools close wave bah-bye
- Summer is over when I hang up my flip flops
- When the leaves turn color, it’s over
- Too cold for shorts and tees, the end
- Summer is over when I say so
Meteorological vs. Astronomical End of Summer
The National Weather Service, in the spirit of data integrity, allows no confusion over the timelines of the seasons. They divide each into four three month periods with the same beginning and ending dates each year. This method enables consistency with yearly comparisons of temperatures, rainfall, snowfall, and other essential data that requires tracking. Nice and tidy right?
- Spring: March 1 - May 31
- Summer: June 1 - August 31
- Fall: September 1 - November 30
- Winter: December 1 – February 28/29
Astronomical seasons also divide the year into quarters, but the start and finish dates revolve around the vernal equinox and autumnal equinox and the summer and winter solstice. The astronomical method means the position of the earth as it orbits the sun determines the beginning and end of each season. Below are the dates for the astronomical seasons for this year, 2019.
- Spring: March 20 – June 20
- Summer: June 21 – September 22
- Fall: September 23 – December 20
- Winter: December 21 – March 19
When I look out into my courtyard and all the leaves are green, and the geraniums are still blooming their hearts out its still summer. When my condo community pool is open, and people are jumping in because it’s 82 degrees. It looks like summer to me.
While the temperatures are cooperating plan to make the most of the last lingering days of this glorious season. Get your fill before the leaves turn and drop from the trees, and we fall into the arms of a long cold winter.
- Enjoy an end-of-summer picnic. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Lunch in your favorite park or on the terrace of your favorite restaurant fits the bill.
- Take a long ride on your favorite bike trail.
- Plan a trip to the zoo. The Minnesota Zoo has a herd of llamas visiting for the first time. “With minimal separation from the animals, guests will get a great opportunity to observe llamas lunching, llamas munching, llamas scratching, and llamas napping.”
- Take in a baseball game. The season is not quite over at Target Field.
- Throw an end of summer backyard party and barbecue for friends and family.
- Go camping and sleep under the stars even if it’s only in your backyard.
- Sit around the fire pit and enjoy your backyard patio right through the fall.
- Spend some time on the water boating or fishing.
It appears the question “when is summer over” remains mostly unanswered. Even though there are different opinions, does it matter? In the end, Mother Nation makes the call. Now if you will excuse me, I’m putting on my flip flops and heading out to the pool.