Astronomers claim that summer ends Sept. 22, when the sun crosses over the equator.
We know better. The coming week is the last week of summer, which will end, rudely and brusquely, on Labor Day. Schools all across the state will reopen Tuesday (Wednesday in Edgemont), lazy rhythms will tighten and vanish. Ready or not, reality will return. The days will start to become shorter than the nights, the leaves will blaze red and gold for a while and then disappear, warning that a cold and barren winter is on its way. If you haven’t finished your summer reading list or roster of household projects, you have only a few more days. And if you haven’t gotten around to a look-better-in-a-bathing-suit diet or exercise routine, forget it. You’re too late.
The village center has been emptier than usual this week, signaling that young families are away for vacation — and hopefully they’ve taken time to unplug while they spend quality time together. Storefronts have been displaying back-to-school wares for a while already, and kids know the easy summertime living is about to be replaced by earlier bedtimes, homework assignments and tightly scheduled routines. They’re bracing for the change.
Some toddlers in the village will soon enter preschool for the first time, 5-year-olds will begin kindergarten, and last year’s crop of high school graduates will decamp for college, if they haven’t already, with at least one complete carload of clothes, computer equipment, bedding and modular furniture. We wish everyone good luck, parents and students alike.
Labor Day means that soon, too soon, we’ll be replacing our flip-flops with closed shoes, eating dinner in the dark and grabbing a sweater or jacket before running outside. We’ll cover our garden furniture or haul it downstairs, pack away the beach towels, sunscreen and aloe, scrub the barbecue rack, and wait for temperatures to drop.
Scarsdale’s population waxes and wanes with the seasons, a sort of demographic carousel of time. Over the summer, it seems that hundreds of kids leave for sleep-away camps and teen tours, a depletion that’s slightly offset by college kids coming home for jobs or summer school classes.
Some time before winter’s grip becomes a fist, many senior residents leave town for warmer climes, returning in the spring, before the summer migrations.
The village is at full occupancy during the brief overlap when the campers are home and the collegians haven’t left. We think we just witnessed the peak.
The consolation prize for the back-to-school, post-Labor Day rush is major league baseball, which began in spring and has continued, almost daily, ever since, weeknight after weeknight, weekend afternoon after weekend afternoon, with standings and stats that shift like the sands of time. The teams will continue to hash it out for another month or so in regular season games, even when we’re too busy to watch them. Then they’ll embark on league championship elimination rounds and finally the World Series, which is tentatively scheduled to begin Oct. 22, indisputably autumn.
New York Mets fans are hanging on to hopes for post-season play for their team but in these late summer days the Yankees are playing over-600 ball and pinstripe fans are allowing themselves to dream.
When summer ends, there will be a few weeks of baseball to sustain us, a few dozen games where the grass remains green, the lights bright, and the noise way too loud, just like summer.
And if — dare we say it — the Yankees or the Mets make it to the World Series — knock wood — seeing the familiar players bat and catch and throw will extend our summer reveries even longer. When we watch the games, we’ll remember the hot sun and tranquil afternoons, even if the night is nippy and the crowd roars.