It’s finally fall, and I do not want to hear one word from the Summer People about how fall doesn’t technically start until Sept. 22. No one cares about your “calendar technicalities,” Summer People. Exactly what are you planning to do with three more technical weeks of “summer” huh? Do you still have Fourth of July fireworks you haven’t set off at midnight on a Tuesday night? Is there a tank top and cut-off shorts combo you’ve haven’t yet worn to impress absolutely no one at the Wal- Mart? Are you still planning one last summer vacation car caravan with which to annoy every driver trying to pass your five-car line on I-77 south?
Well too bad, Summer People, you’re going to have save that caravan for next year. It’s fall time, so get out your hoodie, your light-up autumn door wreath, and start racing the sun to get home before dark, because it’s the most wonderful time of the year.
I don’t think that anyone who doesn’t experience all four seasons can truly understand the prize that fall feels like when it gets here. Think about it: we Mountaineers suffer from May to August in hot, muggy weather, going through the motions of enjoying summer (while secretly running for the AC every chance we get). We tell ourselves we love the summer: “The pool is so nice!” “Look at how good my garden is growing!” “Oh I just love constantly washing my car because it hasn’t rained and the roads are all dusty!”
But you aren’t fooling me, Summer People. I hear the deep-seated agony in your voice as you show off your canned goods. I don’t hear you talk about how many quarts of beans you canned without also hearing how little fun it is to have four huge pots of boiling water going during 90 plus degree days in order to process beans that you’ve had to pick in your hot garden, then string and snap till your fingers have Green Bean calluses (not to be confused with Green Bean casserole, which, spoiler alert: no one is eating. You can go ahead and just toss that can out of the Canned Beans count). Don’t try and be strong for me, Summer People: I hear your pain.
The truth is, summer is what we Mountaineers have to suffer through to get to fall. We suffer through cold and wet January. We tolerate rainy and windy March and April. And then we agonizingly sweat and trudge through July, sure that we’ll melt into a puddle in August. But then fall comes, so slowly at first, we almost don’t feel it: a cool breeze here, a refreshing rain there, the first glimpse of a leaf turning colors. We start to realize that we made it, y’all. We made it through another year of what I believe is the state with the most amount of all the weathers possible on Earth in one place, and will be rewarded with what is, hands-down, the best time to live in West Virginia.
It is so obvious that fall is the best season that I am incredulous that Summer People even try and argue otherwise. You ever hear someone make an argument so ridiculous you just stare at them with squinty eyes and a wrinkled forehead, like your brain is refusing to let that information in, so you have to force it in your consciousness? It’s like when you try and suck a frozen strawberry chunk left from a milkshake through a straw: that’s how I look when people try to tell me summer is the best time of the year.
Look, I’m not saying summer doesn’t have its few charms. I like light as much as the next person, so getting up to daylight instead of darkness does improve my mood for the first ten minutes I’m awake. I love being able to drive home and not worry as much that I’m going to hit a deer without seeing it. But do I think feeling like a wrung-out dishtowel because of summer humidity is a good trade-off for sunlight? No, I don’t. I have headlights that perform the function of the sun. I do not have a bubble that takes me from the AC to my house, to the AC in my car ,to the AC in my office, thus never stepping into humidity.
Even if you invented me that bubble, you could not change my mind about fall, Summer People. You’re not going to tell me that bonfires in the summer are better than fall bonfires. Fall bonfires are for cozying up, for hot drinks, for sitting around for hours on end solving the world’s problems and forgetting to write it all down. Summer bonfires are like the Olympic flame: you fire it up, you ooh and ahh over it, then you move on to something else, because its way to too hot to sit around, even at ten on a summer night.
And do you know when, statistically, do more incidents and accidents happen? That’s right, summer. Know why, Summer People? Because after you’ve done all you can do in a day, it’s still light out, and we as a culture have convinced ourselves that we aren’t making the most out of life if we aren’t constantly doing something. So after you’ve worked, played, worked again on earning a fictional summer merit badge for whatever hobby you picked up for the summer, you look outside at 9 p.m. and there’s still freaking daylight! What’s left to do for a country of overachievers except call your buddies and say “I’ll get the Razr, you get the six pack! We’re burning daylight!” Two hours later, you’re posing for Facebook photos next to your ATV overturned in one of Jackson County’s famous mud holes.
You know what happens when someone calls you at 9 p.m. during fall to do something? Nothing, because no one calls someone after dark in fall in West Virginia to do anything, because we all know the statistics on hitting deed after dark in the Mountain State (Number One in Deer-Hitting in the nation, baby!). If it’s not a pre-planned bonfire, it’s not happening. You get home after dark, you stay home till morning, and you spend a cozy evening under a throw (that’s the tiny blanket that lives folded up on the back of your couch), planning your weekend leaf-peeping trip, and watching your insurance rates drop because you aren’t outside with your equally foolish friends making bad decisions during the worst season of the year.
So quit your “summer is the best!” memes, and your “its’ not fall yet!” posts, Summer People, because not only are you not changing anyone’s mind about the fresh heck that is summer, you are missing the point: no one cares what the calendar says about when seasons start. I’ve had my fall décor up since the middle of August, and got a lecture from my mom about being late to the game because she’d had hers up since Aug. 1. When it comes to fall, Summer People, your arbitrary reliance on the calendar means nothing. You don’t get to pretend that summer starts on Memorial Day (clearly still during spring), and then put on your Smartest Person on Facebook hat and tell us Fall Fans that we have to wait until the end of September to start celebrating. If I have to tolerate your summer vacation caravans on my commute starting in April, then not one word about my Halloween tree in August.
So to appropriate a phrase from a very good 90’s sitcom: its fall time, and I’m your host, Ceason “The Pumpkin Queen” Ranson. Get your sweaters, get your mums, and come over the Fall Fans side, Summer People. We’ve got a mug of hot chocolate and a hoodie waiting for you.