Islander's Blog

That time of year again

We complain all summer. They are the same complaints you hear in every resort town. Too many people, most of whom seem oblivious to the fact that we ourselves are not on vacation. Two friends run into each other. One asks the other how he is. “Just making it through the summer,” is often the response.

It is a generally accepted fact that August is the worst of it. I once met a man who lived on-island all fall, winter and spring. Then he rented his house, packed up his tools, and lived and worked in Vermont between June and September. That story is met with almost universal admiration when it is told between the Fourth of July and Labor Day.

Then the days begin to get shorter. There is the hint of a cool breeze in the air. Our children begin practice for fall sports. Suddenly, we cannot get enough of summer. After a season of complaint, we now ask each other where the summer went. It is like that old Woody Allen joke about the two old ladies at a buffet. They do not like the food, but complain that the portions as so small.

Maybe we feel this way not because New England seasons seem designed to remind us of what we have, by threatening to take it away. In the same way that June holds out the promise of summer, October holds out the threat of winter. Perhaps that is why autumn is the sweetest season. It encourages the bittersweet urgency to enjoy what moments we can, before it is time once again to hunker down for the winter.

So we take a ride to Coatue and spend a Sunday swimming. We pick even more zucchini from our garden and try to find yet another way to cook it. We pack the college-aged kids up for school and buy new notebooks for the ones still at Nantucket High. Personally, I take great solace in the fact that the striped bass will be back in a month or so, even though I probably will not catch one.

 John Stanton

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