This weekend’s marker of the unofficial end of summer is a special time for Islanders. Special, but not necessarily welcomed by all.
Nearly everyone you talk to is suffering a kind of emotional whiplash, as in “ Wow, was that the summer of 2018 that just rushed past me?”
Perhaps the feeling of something fleeting had to do with a long string of perfectly awful weather followed by the simply perfect variety, then boomeranging back to miserable, lulling us into believing it was a permanent state of affairs.
Now someone is ringing a bell, calling us inside to face reality.
There’s little time, really, to reflect on summer’s passing since Labor Day is in many ways the opening gun for a race to get the kids ready for school — and face the shopping that requires — to think of closing houses for our summer residents, and for those in seasonal businesses to balance some books and map strategies for fall and winter. An accelerated life makes time pass in a blur, and so we find ourselves not quite believing the season of sun, play, long days and velvety nights is packing up and leaving.
Modern life is all about the race, pacing ourselves to get our work done and have time to care for and be with our families. With summer there comes a time, if we’re lucky, to slow the sprint to a stroll.
If autumn is the season best suited for reflection, winter a time of cold clarity and austere beauty and spring a time of regeneration, summer is a chance to catch our breath.
As our lives shift gears now, it’s worthwhile to consider young people, the graduates from high school who are looking at summer’s end as the start of something they know in their bones will change their lives, either by going to college, into the military or starting work that for the first time will not be part time.
And consider the college students who are preparing to leave the Island to return to campuses, eager to slip back into a life of excitement on every level, including the ongoing expedition to find out who they are and what they want from life.
A lesson for all of us: Something is beginning with Labor Day weekend, and our own expeditions, no matter what our age, are waiting to begin in earnest.