The ice-cream-eating and jumping-in-lakes of summer are a distant memory now. Fall is Back to School, and beginning new projects, it’s crunchy coloured leaves. It’s shorter days. It’s tweed sweaters and running through an apple orchard with a golden retriever. It’s turkey, pumpkin pie and decorative gourds.
If Fall were an ex-boyfriend he’d be a bookish sort in glasses. He’s got elbow patches on his cardigan and prefers to be known by his proper name, Autumn. Whereas Summer is a tanned surfer dude that’s all like, Whoa. And then he takes off on his jet-ski.
My Australian husband has never really come around to the concept of concrete seasonal lines. He doesn’t get that, after Labour Day weekend, summer is over. It doesn’t matter that it’s still 28 degrees out, it’s time to put away the flip-flops and get out the yard rake. And September is not Back to School for him, that’s February. Now that our son has actually started school, I think the cultural implications of the first “-ber” month are finally sinking in.
Craig comes from Sydney, a city blessed by the gods in many ways. It sprawls around a beautiful harbour, there are palm trees, there are 24-hour bars. Most importantly though, the sun shines. Almost. Every. Day. Your barbecue never gets rained out. You will never spend a picnic or a camping trip huddled under a dripping tarp wearing fleece. On what is supposed to be the hottest day of the year.
All of that sun and lack of wild temperature fluctuations make Sydneysiders (seriously, that’s what they are called) pretty happy folk. This is also the reason half of England lives in Bondi. Australians don’t have to contend with all the seasonal labour we have to put up with here in North America.
They don’t have to haul one wardrobe out of storage while tearfully bidding adieu to one’s summer dresses. “I will see you next year my friends, or perhaps in March. In Cuba.”
They don’t have to suffer post-Victorian guilt over not canning a bunch of organic vegetables grown in the garden.
They don’t have to buy their kids new snow-suits everysingle year. They don’t have to buy them ever.
They don’t have to spend countless hours raking up leaves and bagging them, only to rake up the next lot the very next day. Because no matter how many times you think there simply are not any more leaves on the trees to fall, there are. Until there aren’t. And then it’s winter.
They don’t have to clean out the eaves, fire up the furnace, and put away the patio furniture. They don’t have to figure out the best time to put on the snow tires.
You are probably asking yourself why we live in Toronto and not Sydney, since I find all this work so tiresome. Good question. An especially good question when the temperature is a solid 2° C today and I will be fetching my winter parka down from the loft later on.
Toronto is a comfy kind of city where 3 million people from every country in the world rub shoulders without too much friction. T.O. is flat enough to cycle around with ease, and is laid out on a grid, making getting lost impossible. Whatever you want to eat, from souvlaki to sushi, it’s here somewhere. We’ve got a really high tower, and a huge lake. Crime is low. We’ve got parks. We’ve got trees, and right now, most of those are the colour of flames.
In about two months the pond down the road from us will be frozen over, and you might find us skating there on a Saturday morning. Beat that, Sydney.