Not Yet.

We New Englanders are fiercely proud of our seasons. Yes, I called them “our” seasons. Given a chance, we will boast to those who live in warmer climes about how we have four of them. We don’t need topics like politics or celebrity drama; we can go on and on and on with detailed descriptions, analysis, comparisons and even debates about seasons and their related weather patterns. Our favorite icebreaker at any party is to be handed an adult beverage and asked “think we’ll get a lot of snow this year?”

Our devotion is only slightly dampered by the inevitable complaints that surface twice a year: mid-summer when it gets above 90 degrees with high humidity, and mid-winter when it is below zero with snow, ice and windchills.  Other than that, any of us will be happy to obnoxiously regale you with why it is so lovely to live here.  We all claim to have a “favorite” season, but the truth is we all agree on one:  Fall is the best.  The problem? It is also the shortest.

The other night my husband and I were, yes, having a seasonal discussion. (In the northeast, that qualifies as pillow talk).  He brought up a really good question – why does this season get to have two names:  Autumn and Fall?  The other three only have one name each. Seems a bit unfair.  That said, I believe Fall, at least in our neck of the woods, has a third name:  the Not Yet season.

As the temperatures drop, especially in the overnight hours, one particular topic pops up on our seasonal discussions.  It generally goes something like this:

“Turned your heat on yet?”

“NO!  Not yet!  It was 52 degrees in the house this morning, but it warmed up enough when the sun came out. No need to turn it on yet.”

“52?  Heck, it hit 49 in our place, had to get the slippers out. But no heat. Not yet.”

Some of us will tell you we are reluctant to turn the heat on because we are saving money. But come on, really, is turning it on for a bit to take off the morning chill, one week earlier than last year, really going to make that big a difference?  No.  The truth is we like to show off our “northeast fortitude.”  We are tough, we don’t need that sissy heat thing – not yet.

Similarly we hold off on getting out our winter coats.  Especially our teens and 20-somethings. “Want to take your fleece coat to school?”.   “Nah, not yet. I’ve got my hoodie.”

Get any of us going on the status of fall foliage, and you’ll hear it again.  “You guys at peak?”  “Nope, not yet. Got some nice reds and yellows, but still plenty of green. I hear up north they are getting near peak. But here? Not yet.”   This is generally followed by an in-depth discussion of foliage quality.  Good year?  Bad year?  If the colors aren’t vibrant, we’ll launch into the “why’s”… lack of water, no really cold crisp nights, the decline of maple trees – you name it, we’ll have our philosophies and myths with a bit of science mixed in.

Another discussion point is the appropriate time to purchase and display pumpkins. Some of us ardently believe that no pumpkins should be purchased until at least the beginning of October.  “Oh, you can’t get a pumpkin, not yet!  What if we get an Indian Summer?  It will just disintegrate and mold all over your front porch, and that’s disgusting.”   {Editorial note:  my apologies for using the old and unsuitable term of ‘Indian Summer’.  Another New England euphemism.  ‘Indigenous People’s Summer’ seems inappropriate as well, so perhaps we should just call them ‘Weirdly Warm Days.’ }

Sometimes the ‘not yet’ syndrome carries a tone of anticipation:  

“Made your first cup of cocoa yet?”   “Not yet, but that sounds great, I think I’ll make some tomorrow morning.”

“Gone apple picking?”  “Ohhh, not yet, but getting together with friends soon to do that and go to the cider mill!”

Or, it can be just another addition to the To Do list:

“Done maintenance on the snow blower?”  “Ugh, not yet, but I better soon. Farmer’s Almanac says we are in for a doozy this year.”  (reference comment above about the party icebreaker).

“I just cleaned out my gardens, have you?”  “Not yet, I still have a few things blooming.”

“Have you switched your closets over?”   “No, not yet, and I really need to – this weekend for sure.”  This one is a source of both joy and pain for most of us R.W.’s.  We are happy to get reacquainted with some favorite sweaters, boots and jeans.  But it also means coming to terms with clothing that needs to be sorted, donated, replaced.  This past weekend I tackled my change of seasons clothing swap. Thanks to weight gain combined with clearing out old items that went out of style at least 5 years ago, I filled several bags for donations and it took me nearly all day.  My husband’s process took about 30 minutes.

And, you know this one is coming at you, if it hasn’t already:  “Started holiday shopping?”  Cue the anxiety behind the response of “not yet.”

Perhaps we all cling to the Not Yet season because we want to make it linger as long as possible. To have our time saying goodbye to summer, and enjoy saying hello to crisp clear air, cool refreshing temperatures, the beauty that surrounds us – and put off just for a bit longer the shortening of daylight, the hint of winter in the air, and the signal that we are in the last quarter of the year.

It makes me think of the big oak trees that are so prevalent around these parts.  (See? Here I go again with talk of foliage!). Inevitably, the oaks are the last to let go of their leaves.  All the other trees will have littered the ground with their colorful confetti, and are left with their dark bare branches bracing for the onslaught of white stuff.  But the oaks, they are a stubborn bunch.  They will hang on to their yellow-brown scalloped-edged flags, resistant to giving in to the end of the season.  A few will wave at us as we walk by and rake up their fallen comrades. 

If you listen closely to the rustling, you’ll hear it.

Not yet.

About Real Women

A "real woman" mom, wife, worker, friend, sister, daughter....
This entry was posted in autumn, changes; hibernation, events, life phases, memories, routines, Seasons, Social situations, weather and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Not Yet.

  1. molly says:

    Love it!!!

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