Commentary: Goodbye summer, we hardly knew you

Once again, summer seems to be over almost as soon as it began, so I thought I'd take a moment to do a requiem of sorts.

It is definitely one of those seasons that everyone spends either eagerly anticipating or wondering where it went.

Technically, the "astronomical summer" isn't over until Sept. 21, but that is just ridiculous.

The REAL summer, as you and I know it, is clearly winding down.

Kids are already back in school and there is just no way September qualifies as "summer," at least not in Maryland.

As many young adults have observed, summer also changes pretty sharply as one gets older.

In childhood, summer is extremely well-defined. The school bell rings, everyone runs gleefully outside, tearing their textbooks to shreds (OK, hopefully not) – that's summer.

As soon as you are sitting once again in a classroom, wearing new clothes and a sullen expression, the summer is over.

Somewhere in between, there are literally dozens of plans that get made for all kinds of things to do.

The (roughly) three months of summer vacation feel endless, like you could accomplish all your dreams in just that one season.

Three months later, you feel lucky if you got to the beach and finished all your required summer reading.

Not so as an adult. The summer is now highly open to interpretation. Maybe one day you glance out a window, realize it's going to be a high of 90 degrees and think, "Oh, it's summer. Again."

Your co-workers or relatives will then disagree, and you will have to argue with them by Googling "global warming" or endlessly checking the long-range weather forecasts.

Once summer arrives, though, it still usually means some kind of vacation, even for adults.

The summer also compels me to do things I don't necessarily love to do. I am not a huge fan of lying on the beach for a long time, for example, but I usually end up doing it for summer's sake, just so I can reassure myself it's summer.

Similarly, I am not a huge fan of getting sunburned but I usually end up getting at least a little burnt anyway.

This summer I got to the beach twice, once in Delaware (pretty typical) and once in Oregon (super atypical and very exciting).

I actually went on vacation to Oregon this year, which was really fun. I had never been to the beach in the Pacific Northwest before.

(On a side note, is there any other kind of Northwest? It all borders the Pacific.)

The water was really cold but the coast was very beautiful, surrounded by mountains and huge rocks and extremely long coastlines.

Unlike the road to, say, Ocean City, which is lined with development for miles before you get anywhere near the ocean, the drive between Portland (the largest city) to the Oregon coast is just wilderness until you are practically on top of the coast. It's really pretty and peaceful.

So now I can say I did summery things, in very different parts of the country, and I basically had a good time, which is also what summer is all about.

I guess I can be content with saying goodbye to summer for another year.

I am sure it will come roaring back with plenty of 100-degree days to remind me why fall and winter are not so bad, either.

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