Stretching Summer: Strategies to Combat Fall Angst

By BETH FOSTER deTURO | Sep 26, 2018
Photo by: Ryan Morrill SECOND SUMMER THRILLS: One way to extend the season is with a visit to Fantasy Island Amusement Park.

I know it can be “Better in September,” but it takes me several weeks after Labor Day to adjust to this wave of thinking. As with every other year, I’ve been in a funk since the end of August. Summer is my favorite season, so Labor Day is naturally my least favorite holiday. There’s something very melancholy about unpinning your 2018 beach badge and dropping it into your badge collection jar. It feels so final, like the summer has succumbed to a terminal illness.

Here are just a few reasons I know I have a summer problem:

1. I named my cat Summer.

2. People refer to Labor Day as the “L” word around me in hushed tones to try to keep me a little calmer.

3. I involuntarily turn my head away from the large, yellow vehicles that round up children.

4. I consider Groundhog Day the first of the summer holidays.

5. My husband refers to the block of time from Labor Day to Chowderfest as the “second half of summer” so that I feel the season is continuing.

Now that a few weeks have passed and I’ve had time to adjust to the daily rhythms of “re-entry” into the back-to-school world, I’m feeling a tad more ready to embrace the “second half of summer.” Of course, it’s nice that the Island is less crowded, and the weather can be unbelievably gorgeous (although 2018 seems to enjoy defying the norms), but here are some other things to look forward to. I offer these as coping strategies in case you or a loved one also suffer from an anti-fall affliction:

1. Eat your way to bliss – Seek out neighbors with a fishing habit to see if they will share some striped bass with you.

2. Refresh tired gardens and porches – Despite being a popular symbol of fall, mums do admittedly reintroduce some color to your home. Come mid-September, it is perfectly acceptable to display these autumnal icons (absolutely not appropriate pre-Labor Day, FYI, as fall must not be rushed or acknowledged).

3. Plan ahead – Fabulous sales in local shops mean it’s never too early to stock up on frocks for next summer!

4. Escape into nature – Walk down the pretty and peaceful beach at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Holgate.

5. Find your thrill – This year Fantasy Island Amusement Park is keeping its rides open on weekends through Columbus Day. If you didn’t find a chance to make it in the first summer, you just got an extension.

6. Enjoy Merchants Mart and Chowderfest – Even if you are not a fan of festivals, bivalves or great deals, this weekend breathes life back onto the Island as if it is the Fourth of July of the fall.

7. Tackle a project – Take this time to work on your summer 2018 photo album. By now, you likely have nearly a thousand photos helplessly trapped in your phone. If you work on your album, you will feel joy in reliving those summer memories and you will create an amazing slice of summer to feast on when pumpkins take over.

8. Don’t overdo it – Speaking of pumpkins, resist the urge to purchase and display vast numbers of decorative gourds, corn husks, cornucopias and hay bales around your property. It’s very hard to enjoy a beautiful September day at the beach only to return home to see an autumnal explosion in your yard.

9. Dress appropriately – Hold off on wearing that cozy sweater you bought until you truly need it. Nothing ruins a summer vibe like seeing people walking around in jeans and sweaters and socks (!) when it’s still warm and beautiful out. Trust me, there will be months and months to wear these items.

10. Keep conversations fun and upbeat – The second summer is not the time to start asking friends what their plans are for the holidays. This is a major faux pas. People who suffer from anti-fall affliction are trying to enjoy themselves and live in the moment of the second summer. A question about Thanksgiving can really send someone into a tailspin. Better to hold off until after Halloween to dive into this line of questioning. (Hint: Asking someone when he or she is turning off the water for the season is also a major no-no. Better to skip the small talk than to cause verbal harm.)

How long can you stretch out summer? Remember, savor summer; don’t rush fall!

Beth Foster deTuro lives in Charlotte, N.C., and Harvey Cedars.




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